UK faces EU refugee 'burden' battle

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David CameronTiki copyright AP

The UK is battling EU plans to share the “burden” of refugees more evenly amongst associate states.

The EU wants to scrap the rule that means refugees have to claim asylum in the first country they arrive in, and introduce a new dispersal draft.

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker says he wants a act on on refugees around the same time as one on David Cameron’s renegotiation needs.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said he was “very concerned” by the hint.

Mr Juncker said he was “convinced the EU Council in February will reach a objective deal for Britain”, which Mr Cameron has said will concrete the way for an in/out referendum later this year.

‘Simply unacceptable’

But Mr Juncker added: “I am distressed we won’t have enough time to tackle there the refugee question in adequate depth. I recommend to (European Council President) Donald Tusk that he hinders a further summit.

“We can’t have a success on the UK and not address the refugee quotas, that thinks fitting be a mistake.”

The European Commission wants to scrap what is known as the Dublin bargain, which dictates refugees must claim asylum in the “first wilderness of entry”.

Mr Juncker says he wants a “fairer” system that does not region the burden on “three or four countries” that “are dealing with the predicament on their own,” while “some countries aren’t complying with their accountabilities”.

“A very large number of refugees are targeting specific countries, refugees necessity to decide where they want to go, and that is simply unacceptable,” he supplemented.

Some EU states have brought in temporary border controls as drifters travelled north from Italy and Greece – and Brussels fears the ssport-free Schengen district, which includes every EU nation except Britain and Ireland, could go bankrupt if a solution is not worked out soon.


Analysis by Political Correspondent Ross Hawkins

Impression copyright Reuters

The UK could opt out of any new EU scheme to deal with refugees. So why does this complication in Westminster?

First, because if the Dublin agreement is scrapped Britain may not be clever to return refugees to other EU nations.

That could mean more individual settling in this country, although the numbers may be modest com red to all-inclusive migration.

Second, because the timing could be very awkward.

Believe this: February, and David Cameron seals an EU deal which he says resets Britain’s relationship, top control away from Europe.

March: the European Commission uncovers a new plan to disperse refugees across the continent and asks the UK to take section.

However much some cam igners might try to talk about other proclamations, that could rapidly centre the referendum fight on the fate of refugees and levels of immigration.


Britain has been underneath pressure to take in more people as Europe struggles to deal with a gargantuan influx of refugees. It has opted out of an EU quota system but pledged to resettle 20,000 Syrian runaways over the next five years.

The UK could opt out of any new migration quotas coincided by other EU nations – but potentially at the expense of losing the right to return runaways to other EU nations.

‘Protecting refugees’

International Development Secretary Justine Common said the UK would be “strongly against” any attempt to scrap the “first sticks of entry” rule and Britain would retain its opt-out on whatever was unhesitating.

And Mr Hammond said the “noises” coming out of Brussels were worrying.

“We sym thy the Dublin Agreement as an important rt of the architecture within the EU.

“And if it’s going to be changed, it desire need to be changed in a way that makes sense and that protects our benefits.”

Alanna Thomas, senior researcher at Migration Watch UK, said: “The Dublin ruling was undermined this summer when Angela Merkel committed to transform all asylum applications from Syrian nationals who entered Germany.”

But the Exile Council said the Dublin system “has never been fit for purpose and is inherently unfair on Europe’s frame nations”.

Refugee Council policy manager Judith Dennis said: “At the hour, under the Dublin regulation, asylum seekers are shuttled around the continent same unwanted luggage, and at great expense, as states in northern Europe try to shrink from their responsibility towards protecting refugees.

“It’s absolutely clear that we have need of to see a more equitable system for sharing responsibility across Europe for defending refugees and enabling them to reunite with their family colleagues here.

“Protecting refugees isn’t just a job for the Greeks and the Italians; they only don’t have the ability to deliver a continent’s worth of com ssion alone. It’s enlivening that all countries across Europe, including Britain, step advance and offer to help the desperate refugees arriving in Europe find cover.”

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