EU countries plan to lock away refugees at Europe’s borders

Published: 6th June 2023

After years of deadlock, EU justice and home affair ministers will seek to reach an agreement this week on two key files: the border procedure which includes the potential detention of children, and the solidarity mechanism which puts relocations on equal footing with financial contributions.   

Ahead of this, Stephanie Pope, Oxfam EU migration expert, said:

“These proposals will not fix the chronic deficiencies in the EU asylum system. Instead, they signal the EU’s desire to barricade Europe from asylum-seekers.

“EU countries plan to buy themselves out of their responsibility to welcome refugees. As for the border proposal, it is a mere carbon copy of the broken model seen on the Greek islands. It will lock away refugees, including children, at a huge cost, in prison-like centres at Europe’s edges and block their right to asylum.

“Amid this race to the bottom in the asylum system, EU countries are trying now more than ever to pressure non-EU countries into taking on Europe’s responsibilities.

“This is a system built to fail.”

Notes to editors

Stephanie Pope is available for comment.

If EU ministers agree on the two files (the asylum and migration management system regulation and the asylum procedure regulation), it will open negotiations with the European Parliament.

Oxfam is calling for the EU and European countries to work together to create an asylum system that works. In particular, we want the EU to:

  • Make migration rules that share fairly the responsibility of welcoming people across Europe. We have seen in Greece how Europe’s failure to create a responsibility-sharing system has caused thousands of people to suffer. Families live in legal limbo trapped in slum-like camps or EU-funded prison-like detention centres.
  • Stop striking up dubious migration deals with non-EU countries to outsource the EU’s responsibility for people seeking safety.
  • Create independent border monitoring mechanisms to stop human rights abuses at Europe’s borders.

Contact information

JadeTenwick I Brussels, Belgium| | mobile +32 473 562260  

Julia Manresa | Brussels, Belgium || mobile +32 473 87 44 26   

For updates, please follow @OxfamEU. You can also find us on LinkedIn