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EU plans for solidarity mechanism legitimize the status quo, says Oxfam

Ahead of European interior ministers meeting in Brussels tomorrow to discuss progress on EU migration and asylum policy, Oxfam denounces plans to make EU countries commit to a “voluntary, simple and predictable solidarity mechanism”.

Stephanie Pope, Oxfam EU’s Migration expert, said:

“This proposal is a legitimization of the status quo. It allows EU countries to continue to shirk their responsibility towards refugees and leave countries at the EU’s borders to manage Europe’s refugee response. As past years have shown, the result will be overwhelmed reception and asylum systems, overcrowded camps filled with people left in limbo and more pushbacks at Europe’s borders.

“Apart from being temporary and voluntary, the proposal allows EU countries to cherry-pick their asylum seekers. It also allows them to turn away asylum-seekers and, instead, pay for a Fortress Europe by footing the bill for border surveillance and detention centers.

“Europe must finally agree on migration rules that share the responsibility of welcoming people and abandon unreliable voluntary deals that package detention, returns and border surveillance as ‘solidarity’.”

Notes to editors

Spokespeople are available to comment.

Tomorrow, EU interior ministers will discuss the state of play of ongoing migration and asylum work. This follows the informal ministerial meeting in Lille on 3 February. The French presidency proposed that EU countries reach an agreement on a voluntary solidarity mechanism at EU borders. The new proposal:

  • Includes the Mediterranean, Greece and Cyprus within its scope.

  • Involves relocation, financial contributions and other forms of support such as border fortification and detention.

  • Prioritizesthose ‘in need of international protection’ which is vague in its wording and raises concerns over a potential ‘filtering’ process before the asylum procedure allowing EU countries to choose asylum applicants.

  • Suggests that countries can reduce their solidarity contributions in situations of significant secondary movements of refugees in Europe to their territory.

Oxfam is calling for a European migration response that puts people first. This includes creating a mandatory relocation mechanism and an oversight authority to ensure implementation. The EU’s response to Ukraine should be used as a positive example as the EU swiftly set up a Solidarity Platform and a 10 Point Plan.

Contact information

Jade Tenwick | EU Media Officer | jade.tenwick@oxfam.org | mobile +32 473 56 22 60