The European Commission wants to establish a new Dublin System, while Jean-Claude Juncker has praised Angela Merkel’s handling of the crisis. EurActiv Germany reports.
Ahead of the EU summit that starts today (18 February), the Commission announced its intention to set up a new system of receiving refugees. A spokesperson for the executive said that the European Council wanted the Commission to submit a proposal in March for a new Dublin System, followed by a draft in April. The spokesperson did not elaborate on which parts of the old system were likely to be changed or amended.
Germany has ceased applying the rules of the Dublin system to Syrian refugees. All deportations to other EU countries have been halted. EurActiv’s partner Tagesspiegel reports.
They also want to make further progress on setting up a European Border Protection agency, the implementation of which has somewhat stalled lately. Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans presented the idea for a replacement for Frontex in December. The new agency is expected to employ over 1,000 people, nearly double that which Frontex currently has on its books.
Ahead of the summit today on the refugee crisis and Brexit, Angela Merkel told the Bundestag yesterday (17 February) that the principles of freedom of movement and non-discrimination would not be talking points, neither would the idea of quotas.
The Chancellor said that the EU sounds “ridiculous” when quotas are mentioned, as the agreement to relocate 160,000 refugees among the member states has “not been carried out to any extent”. She emphasised the need to combat the causes of flight.
Only 3% of the more than a million migrants arriving in Italy and Greece in 2015 were returned to their countries of origin or relocated across the EU as refugees, figures released by the European Commission today (10 February) revealed.
Merkel said that a “severe reduction” in refugee numbers was the goal and that several objectives would help reach that target, including addressing the factors that cause people to claim asylum, securing the EU’s external borders and implementing the redistribution agreement.
Juncker praises Merkel
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has indicated his support of the German Chancellor. In an interview with Bild, he said that he was convinced that Merkel’s course of action will be proved right in the end.
He added that the dispute caused by the refugee crisis would not cost her her job. Any other approach would have been a “surrender to the populists”, said the Commission President. “Thanks to important steps taken by the Turkish government” fewer refugees will be making their way towards Western Europe, he added. He also praised the member states for doubling the amount of money available to combat the crisis, “in record time”. Some €10.1 billion has been mobilised as a result.