New asylum and migration package from the EU: Unword of the year

The “return sponsorship” of the EU migration package reverses solidarity. It is no longer about sharing the burden of asylum, but of the burden of deportation.

Remote control and Bible in a cell in the Eisenhüttenstadt detention center Photo: Stafanie Loos

One term stuck to the plans for the new EU asylum system that the EU Commission presented on Wednesday: “return sponsorships”. Were in the net On the same day, he certified that he had the best chances of being voted “Unword of the Year”.

You have to come up with what is behind it first. When people in Brussels talked about “solidarity” in connection with flight and migration, one thing was meant in the past: to distribute the burden of taking in refugees as evenly as possible. This is now being turned around: Solidarity could also mean sharing the burdens of deportations, the commission announced. It’s a remarkably embarrassing political twist.

Governments like Viktor Orbán’s in Hungary thrive on their unwillingness to compromise on the refugee issue. But instead of at least trying to sanction the stance of the Visegrád states plus Austria, the commission now defended them in an ingratiating manner from criticism: “One’s concern is never more legitimate than that of the other. All worries deserve to be tackled, ”said the Commissioner for the Promotion of the European Lifestyle, Margaritis Schinas, on Wednesday.

But the populist whipped up “fear” of alleged foreign infiltration and the willingness to breach human rights are just not as legitimate as the concern to uphold basic and human rights and to share the burdens attached. When the Commission humps before Orbán with demonstrative indifference, it gives up itself as a political actor. The “deportation sponsorships” want to conceal exactly that.

Frontext trains deportation experts

In its pact, the Commission writes that on average around 370,000 asylum applications are rejected in the EU each year, but only around a third of these people are deported. It gives the impression that it is because nobody in the EU cares about deportations and the deportation sponsorships (and an additional “deportation coordinator” to be appointed) remedy this deficiency. This is nonsense.

The burdens of deportations have long been collectivized in Europe: For years, the EU border protection agency Frontex has been upgraded so that more people are deported faster. Today, Frontex coordinates and finances Member States’ deportations. To do this, she chartered aircraft and booked seats on scheduled flights. Frontex helps the national immigration authorities to obtain passports and negotiates with the authorities in the destination countries.

She builds up a pool of specialized deportation experts, known as “escort officers”. This year, Frontex can spend 70 million euros from Brussels on these “return” activities. There will be more next year. And the next but one too.

The fact that “only” a third of all rejected persons are deported each year is not due to the fact that the poor external border states are left alone with the deportations and therefore need sponsorships.

The reason is that many people cannot be deported despite their asylum applications being rejected: Because they are sick or in training, because they are minors, because they come from a war zone, because they do not have a passport, their identity is unclear because legal proceedings are still pending not decided because they went into hiding or because their countries of origin do not take them back.

Some of them are required to leave the country, but they still have rights that may prevent deportation. And that’s right. What effect will the “deportation sponsorships” have?

Disenfranchisement is built in

The commission wants to stipulate that all states should voluntarily meet admission quotas. If they do not do that, they should alternatively deport a number of rejected asylum seekers from the external border states. They have eight months to do this per case. If they don’t succeed, they have to take them in themselves.

Let’s assume that the model of “godfather deportations” can be implemented – and Bulgarian police officers would travel to Valletta, for example, to bring rejected asylum seekers to Ghana from there: It is doubtful that states that have been trying to confront Brussels for years in order not to have to accept refugees, to take care of the rights of those rejected elsewhere.

Otherwise they would have to let them into the country. The disenfranchisement of refugees is already built into the model.