Not every migrant who makes it over the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean Sea in the search for a better life for him and his family, actually finds peace for those close to him and those whom he treasures. In such a situation, the migrant can apply for asylum in the country where he and his family have landed, but such an application is not always successful, which provokes a complicated situation for both the asylum seeker and the authorities of the country he is in.
The leaders of the European Union have called for a mandatory system to be in effect across the whole of the bloc, with the intentions of better managing the entire issue of the influx of migrants to the region, after recent years which have paid witness to deep division over ways of best responding to the large amount of migrants and refugees.
The proposed pact, which has the backing of the German government, would demand that all 27 EU countries have a part to play in the scheme. It is understood that European member states would have the choice of either taking in asylum seekers, or the option of taking the bull by the horns in sending back those migrants who have been refused asylum to their native countries.
The proposed pact has so far has been backed most vehemently by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who suggests a fair spreading of the responsibility and solidarity which should act between the European Union member states, while at the same time providing a level of security for the individual applicants for asylum. Under the plan there would be: A new mandatory screening at pre-entry stage to include health, identity and security checks; a speedier asylum system to take place at the borders involving decisions within a three month period and a quick return for those migrants whose applications have failed.
It is hoped that the 27 members of the European Union will have so-called flexible options on how they would wish to take part in the proposed scheme, which would be beneficial to nations such as Hungary and Poland, who have in the recent past stated that they do not wish to take in migrants, freeing them up to help in other ways.
There are a number of things they could do. They could accept recent arrivals, in a way ‘Sponsor’ those returning to their homeland, which would make certain that they will in fact go home if they have been refused asylum in the country where they have arrived. Under the scheme, each member state of the European Union would be legally obliged to provide their ‘fair share’ which would be based partly on their GDP, and in part on the size of their nation’s population figures.
In other developments, migrants on the Greek islands are to be offered €2,000 per head if they are to return to their native countries in a scheme sponsored by Brussels, which is in an attempt to alleviate the squalid conditions in some of the migrant camps. The amount they are willing to pay amounts to more than five times the normal figure, which is offered to migrants to aid their efforts to start their lives afresh in their native country, under the voluntary returns programme which is run by the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration.
Such an offer will only be on the table for a month, as there are fears in the European Commission that any open-ended scheme would have the effect of enticing even more migrants to come to Europe. The scheme is not open to those migrants who have no homes to go back to, but is aimed at incentivising those who are looking for an improved standards of living to vacate the islands.
The European Commission is on record as stating that it hopes 5,000 will accept the offer, although it admitted that it does not have statistics on how many migrants on the Greek islands were economic migrants, as opposed to being refugees. Those on mainland Greece were likely to be offered additional money to go home.
In the last four years, 18,151 people have opted to make the trip back home from Greece under the voluntary returns programme, Only about 20 per cent (3,927) had been staying on the Greek islands. Only time will show whether the light points more migrants the way back to their native countries.