Ten days ago, I paid a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with my S&D colleague Dietmar Köster. As the Greens/EFA spokesperson on Bosnia and Herzegovina, I wanted to visit the country to assess the deep political crisis which it is currently facing. I hoped to speak to the various actors involved to learn how they see the current crisis, actors who often feel overlooked by the international community, like opposition parties and NGOs, but also official institutions. In BiH, I hoped to gain their insights on strategies for the country to solve the current political crisis and depart from a system based on segregation and electoral discrimination, and to instead find the path towards an integrated and truly democratic country.
On the 25th and 26th of October, together with my S&D colleague Thijs Reuten, I visited the EU external borders with Belarus. The trip was organised in light of the grave humanitarian situation that developed over the past few months for asylum seekers who are trying to cross these borders. One day in Poland, one day in Lithuania, trying to take stock of the situation on how migrants and asylum seekers are treated at the border. In order to do so, we met with several human rights organisations, such as the Red Cross, UNHCR, Helsinki Foundation, lawyers, academics, and the Lithuanian Ombudsman.
The EU should support much needed internal reforms by taking immediate actions on these urgent problems. Ensure that the Slovenian Press Agency is funded again, that the delegated prosecutors are appointed and that the Slovenian government stops pushbacks and guarantees migrants access to an asylum procedure.
Guest blog by: Chris Nash, Director, European Network on Statelessness
Much will be at stake for Afghanistan and the international community during the coming months, not in the least our credibility. The EU has the chance to prove adherence to its values and geopolitical relevancy by coordinating a sustainable and human rights centred approach, including towards Afghan citizens fleeing the Taliban. But this requires a substantial shift in the current narrative and strong EU leadership.
When presenting the New Pact, the Commission put a lot of emphasis on the need for an effective return policy. The argument which Commissioner Johansson kept using was that only one third of the asylum seekers are being granted asylum, although analyses clearly show that during the previous years around 60 percent received protection, including in appeal. Another assumption underlying the proposals is that the current legislation on return procedures is causing ineffective return policies. This was exactly the reason behind the proposed recast Return Directive which is still under negotiation.
Article by Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA spokesperson for North Macedonia and Maja Morachanin, Member of the Sobranie and leader of the Green party (DOM) in North Macedonia
Pushbacks at our external borders have become a widespread practice. Why are these violations so persistent, and what can be done to stop them? We need a wider scope of the newly proposed monitoring mechanism, stricter enforcement of the rules and stronger scrutiny from the European Parliament and Commission.
The expectations were high before the launch of the proposals for a New Pact on Migration and Asylum. A new impetus was desperately needed in order to achieve a real harmonisation of asylum policies and most of all, a fair responsibility-sharing of asylum claims among the Member States.