June 19, 2018 / 10:48 AM / 4 months ago

EU to move towards deciding asylum seekers' fate outside its borders - draft

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will agree next week to look into setting up “regional disembarkation platforms” to decide on asylum requests before the claimants actually get to Europe, a draft statement of the leaders’ summit next week showed.

European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, May 2, 2018. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

Such centres could be set up in regions such as Northern Africa, said officials who discussed the document, which is not public but was seen by Reuters before the June 28-29 EU summit.

“Such platforms should provide for rapid processing to distinguish between economic migrants and those in need of international protection, and reduce the incentive to embark on perilous journeys,” the draft joint statement of all 28 EU leaders said, though its wording may still change.

In a response to the ultimatum given to German Chancellor Angela Merkel by her coalition partner to find an EU deal on handling refugees and migrants who make it to the bloc or else see Berlin introduce a unilateral ban on refugees already registered in other EU states, the text also said:

“...secondary movements of asylum seekers between Member States put the integrity of the Asylum System severely at risk. Member States should take all necessary internal legislative and administrative measures to counter such movements and to closely cooperate amongst each other to this end.”

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska

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