Calais chaos puts onus on Commission to enforce the rules

08-Sep-2014 @ 17:30

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Recent chaos at the channel crossing in Calais, where hundreds of migrants tried to force their way onto a ferry bound for England, shows how vital it is that the European Commission start to enforce border control properly, Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative spokesman on Justice and Home Affairs, said today.


Mr Kirkhope, a former UK immigration minister, said the Commission must also monitor and make sure that all member states are processing third country migrants according to the rules


He said today: "Events in Calais are clear evidence that the issue of unregistered and undetected migrants entering and then moving around the EU is a serious one.


"The geographical positioning of Member States in the Mediterranean puts huge pressures on their asylum systems. Lampedusa where there have been several tragic incidents where migrants have drowned, is only 70 miles from north Africa, and small towns are seeing thousands of migrants arriving every year; but this is no excuse for not fulfilling your obligations under EU law.


"The EU has legislation and bodies which set out Member States' responsibilities, but the European Commission needs to do more to enforce it.  The Dublin Agreement states that asylum seekers should be returned to the state where they first arrived in the EU, but failing to process migrants when they arrive leads to a break down in the whole system.


"These EU countries do not want the financial burden which would come with processing the migrants officially, and so allow that scores of unregistered migrants continue their journeys across Europe to wealthier countries with more generous benefit systems, such as Germany, Sweden and Britain.


"The scenes in Calais have shown more plainly than ever before how important it is that we now commit to providing practical support to the countries concerned to help build up their capacity to deal with claims, for example through the practical work of the European Asylum Support Office, FRONTEX and funding mechanisms.


"A further solution, which I continue to stress, is to put in place a scheme which allows unfounded asylum claims to be quickly refused and there must be stricter penalties, such as we have in the UK, for those who abuse the system. This would instantly reduce the unnecessary financial burdens that the current bureaucracy places on countries with external borders.


"Clearly migrant pressure is not just a problem for Mediterranean countries. All member states need to work together and help each other. We need a fair and firm system which allows us to help those most in need and create an asylum system which Europeans can be positive about."

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