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Asylum policy

Turkey’s policy in #Libya threatens EU



The Turkish intervention into the Libyan conflict caused the negative effect for the region: the balance of power changed and the GNA liberated Tripoli from the LNA forces and recently started a big-scale offensive on Sirte city. On 6 June after negotiations with the Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, and the speaker of the Libyan House of Representatives Aguila Saleh Issa  and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the president of Egypt, issued the Cairo Declaration.

It is based on the agreements reached at the Berlin Conference on Libya in January. According to Cairo Declaration, "all parties undertake to cease fire from 6h local time on Monday, 8 June". In addition, it provides for the continuation of negotiations in Geneva under UN patronage of a joint military committee in the 5+5 format (five representatives from each side). Further progress on other issues, including political, economic and security, will depend on the success of its work.

EU Foreign Affairs Minister Josep Borrell, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Mayo welcomed the declaration and called for the cessation of all hostilities in Libya and the withdrawal of all foreign troops and military equipment from the country.

The French president noted that Turkey is playing "a dangerous game" in Libya. "I don't want in six months, or one year or two, to see that Libya is in the situation that Syria is in today," Macron added.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendyas announced on Wednesday 24 June in a statement following the visit of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrel to Evros that Turkey "continues to undermine security and stability, as well as peace in the Eastern Mediterranean", causing problems for all its neighbours. "Turkey has continuously violated the sovereignty of Libya, Syria, Iraq and our EU partner, the Republic of Cyprus. In Libya, again in clear disregard for international legitimacy, it violates the UN embargo in pursuit of its neo-Osmanian aspirations. It openly ignores Europe's repeated calls for respect for international legitimacy," Dendyas said.

Turkey rejected the Cairo Declaration: The "Cairo Initiative" on the Libyan settlement is “not convincing” and insincere, declared Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. After the Cairo Declaration Chairman of Presidential Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj urged the GNA troops to "continue their path" towards Sirte.

The recent success of the GNA troops is caused by the participation of Syrian mercenaries, connected with jihadists, who actively were sent in Libya by Turkey to fight against the LNA from may 2019. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the number of fighters from the pro-Turkey Syrian factions today can reach more than 18 000. Generally, the mercenaries are from Al-Mu'tasim Brigade, the Sultan Murad Brigade, the Northern Falcons Brigade, Al-Hamzat and Suleiman Shah. The mercenaries are promised to be paid 1500-2000 $ a month, but the current monthly salary of each fighter is around 400$.

The policy of Turkey in the Libyan region represents destructive neo-Ottoman and pan-islamist strategy, which is based on the neocolonialist ambitions. The possible explanation for the intervention to Libya is the instability in Turkey itself and the Erdogan’s loss of popularity (the support of AKP party came from 33.9 in February 2020 to 30.7 in May 2020 according to Metropol). The Turkish president uses the Islamic narrative (in Libya as the war on side of the GNA, in Turkey – the initiative to convert Hagia Sophia back into Mosque) for the legitimation of his power. İbrahim Karagül , the columnist in the mainstream Yeni Şafak media of Turkish Republic wrote:“Turkey will never withdraw from Libya. It will not give up before achieving its aim.”

The major pro-Erdogan media spread this neocolonialist agenda about from November 2019 (when GNA signed 2 deals with Erdogan): Libya is seen as a part of the neo-ottoman empire.

Threat for the EU

The negative effect of the neo-ottoman agenda in Libya is the threat of the new migration crisis, which can happen to the EU. In march 2020 Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Tayyip Erdogan, declared, that Turkey will not close the borders for refugees until the EU fulfills its promises to Ankara. Recently Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has noted the surge of a new wave of refugees to Europe amidst the stabilization of the COVID-19 situation. If Turkey responds to this challenge, Europe will face a new migration crisis and its social services will feel the main blow from the new wave of refugees.

The other front of threat is the Libyan costs, the starting point for the trip of migrants to Europe. Nearly 2,000 Turkish-backed Syrian militants that were transported to Libya over the last five months have fled the north African nation for Europe according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

European governments are taking steps to actively counter Turkish policy in Libya: France has already addressed NATO on this issue. French president has already discussed the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump, and more exchanges on the issue are expected in the coming weeks.

In order to protect European interests, it is important to protect Libya from Turkish expansion and to prevent Erdogan from gaining control over the country's assets.

Asylum policy

#EUAsylumRules - Reform of the #DublinSystem



The influx of migrants and asylum seekers to Europe in recent years has shown the need for a fairer, more effective European asylum policy. Check out the infographic for more information.
© European Union 2018 -EP   

Although the record migratory flows to the EU witnessed in 2015 and 2016 have subsided, Europe - due to its geographic position and stability - is likely to remain a destination for asylum seekers and migrants amid international and internal conflicts, climate change and poverty.

There is need for an overhaul of EU asylum rules, and of the Dublin system in particular, in order to increase the EU's preparedness for receiving migrants and asylum seekers and to ensure greater solidarity and a fairer sharing of responsibility among EU countries.

Young Rohingya refugees look out over Palong Khali refugee camp, a sprawling site located on a hilly area near the Myanmar border in south-east Bangladesh.© UNHCR/Andrew McConnellYoung Rohingya refugees look out over Palong Khali refugee camp, near the Myanmar border in south-east Bangladesh.© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

What are the Dublin rules?

The cornerstone of the EU asylum system, the Dublin regulation determines which EU country is responsible for processing applications for international protection. On 6 November 2017, the European Parliament confirmed a mandate for inter-institutional negotiations with EU governments on an overhaul of the Dublin rules. Parliament's suggestions for a new Dublin regulation include:

  • The country in which an asylum seeker first arrives would no longer be automatically responsible for processing the asylum application.
  • Asylum seekers with a 'genuine link' to a particular EU country should be transferred there.
  • Those without a genuine link to an EU country should be shared fairly among all member states. Countries refusing to participate in the transfer of asylum seekers could lose EU funds.
  • Security measures should be stepped up, and all asylum seekers must be registered upon arrival with their fingerprints checked against relevant EU databases.
  • Provisions on minors should be strengthened and family reunification procedures accelerated.

Although the Parliament has been ready since November 2017 to enter negotiations on an overhaul of the Dublin system, EU governments have been unable to reach a position on the proposals.

Learn more about Parliament's suggested amendments in the infographic above and in this background note.

13.6 million - The number of new people forced to flee their home in 2018

According to the UN Refugee Agency, 13.6 million people were forcibly displaced in 2018 due to persecution, conflict or violence. It brings the total worldwide population of forcibly displaced people to a new high of 70.8 million. 84% of the world's refugees are hosted by developing regions.

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Asylum policy

Future #Asylum reform: Designed to address both primary and secondary movements



The reform of EU asylum rules initiated by the Commission in 2015 are designed to ensure humane and dignified treatment of asylum seekers, simplified and shortened asylum procedures, as well as stricter rules to combat abuse. The key objectives of the reforms include both stopping secondary movements and ensuring solidarity for member states of first entry. With discussions ahead of the European Council focusing on how no member state should be left alone or put under disproportionate pressure be it from primary or secondary movements, the European Commission has today set out in factsheet how the future reform would contribute to both objectives. Read the factsheet here.

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Asylum policy

MEPs support reforms to speed up assessment of #asylum requests in the EU



Requesting and granting asylum in the EU will be quicker and simpler, with stronger safeguards, particularly for children, under new rules approved in committee.

A proposed new Regulation on a common procedure for granting international protection in the EU, which lays down how national authorities are to manage asylum applications, was backed by the Civil Liberties MEPs.

The text, passed by 36 votes to 12 with eight abstentions, aims to ensure asylum applications are processed more consistently across the EU, so as to discourage applicants from lodging multiple applications in different member states.

Refusal to co-operate: Application rejected

Applicants should make their application in the member state of first entry, or in the one established in accordance with the revised Dublin Regulation. If they refuse to give their personal data (name, birth date, gender, nationality, ID card), provide biometric data or allow the authorities to examine their documents, their application will be rejected.

Asylum seekers must be duly informed, in clear language, about the procedure, their obligations and rights, including the right to free legal assistance and representation.

Inadmissible claims: first country of asylum and safe third country

Applications for international protection may be rejected as inadmissible if the applicant has already been recognized as a refugee in a non-EU country (first country of asylum) or has a “sufficient connection” - such as previous residence - with a safe country where he or she may “reasonably be expected to seek protection”.

Safe countries of origin: Turkey cannot be included in the list

A two-month accelerated examination procedure will be applied if the applicant provides inconsistent or false information, or is solely trying to delay an expulsion, and either comes from a safe country of origin, or is considered a danger for national security. Unaccompanied minors may only be subjected to the accelerated procedure for reasons of national security or public order.

The regulation includes an annex listing “safe countries of origin” (democracies not generally engaging in persecution, torture, indiscriminate violence or armed conflict): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. MEPs removed Turkey from the list, which in the future could be modified by the co-legislators based on the information provided by EU member states, the European External Action Service, the European Asylum Support Office, the UNHCR, the Council of Europe and other bodies, including NGOs.

Additional safeguards for children

Decisions on children must take priority, say MEPs. All unaccompanied minors should be assigned a guardian within 24 hours of making the application and always before biometric data are collected. Children, accompanied or not, should receive tailored information about their right to ask for asylum. The “first country of asylum” and “safe third country” concepts must not be applied to unaccompanied minors unless this is clearly in their best interests.

Lead MEP Laura Ferrara (EFDD, IT) said: “This Regulation represents a major step forward towards the creation of a true Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The current procedural differences will be overcome and the system further harmonised. Parliament did a good job in securing the right balance between ensuring the right procedural guarantees to genuine asylum seekers while - at the same time - preventing the abuses that contributed to the collapse of the current CEAS.”

Next steps

The Civil Liberties Committee also approved a mandate (by 39 votes to nine with four abstentions) for MEPs to open inter-institutional negotiations on the regulation with the Council. This mandate must still be endorsed by Parliament as a whole. Talks with the Council will begin once EU ministers have agreed their general approach to the legislation.


The proposed new common procedure for international protection in the Union regulation is part of a wider project to revamp the European Asylum System. Its centrepiece is a review of the Dublin Regulation, but it also includes an update of the Reception Conditions Directive, a new Regulation on Qualification for International Protection, the new EURODAC (identification of applicants) Regulation and the strengthening of the European Asylum Support Office.

Once Parliament endorses this proposal in plenary session, it will have stated its position on all the proposals in the asylum package. Negotiations with the Council have already begun on most of these texts, but MEPs are still waiting for the member states to agree a common position on the key reform of the Dublin Regulation.

More information 

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