EU agrees tougher rules for irregular migrants
EU agrees tougher rules for irregular migrants
10th February 2023
The European Union leaders have agreed on tougher rules aimed at making it easier to expel asylum-seekers whose refugee applications are denied, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Friday.
The measures are a response to increasing European concern over rising irregular immigration that has become a hot-button issue in several member countries.
That problem is “a European challenge that requires a European response,” EU leaders said in a final document at the end of a 16-hour summit looking at that and other topics.
The low numbers of failed asylum-seekers being returned to their home countries is a central preoccupation for the European Union.
The bloc is already hosting millions of refugees from conflicts in Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan, while facing asylum claims from citizens of safer countries such as Bangladesh, Turkey and Tunisia, many of whom end up being deemed economic migrants ineligible for asylum.
Von der Leyen said “pilot projects” relying on the EU’s border patrol, asylum and police cooperation agencies would look to instill “fast and fair asylum procedures” at the bloc’s external borders.
The EU leaders called on the commission “to immediately mobilise substantial EU funds” to reinforce that external border with “protection capabilities and infrastructure, means of surveillance, including aerial surveillance, and equipment,” according to the summit document.
That decision came after some EU countries, notably Austria, had pushed the commission to pay for reinforced fences designed to keep irregular migrants crossing from neighbouring non-EU nations such as Turkey.
Von der Leyen has repeatedly said EU funds would not pay for fences.
But EU officials and diplomats pointed out that, if Brussels paid for cameras, watch towers and other infrastructure along the external border, that would free up countries to pour their national budgets into paying for fences.
The summit also reached agreement on a “principle” under which one EU country can use a court decision in another EU member state to return an irregular migrant to their home country.
That would try to prevent “asylum shopping” whereby migrants go to a different country to apply to stay after being turned down in an initial one.
The EU leaders also agreed “to increase the use of the safe-country concepts” that will open the way to the bloc formulating a common list, von der Leyen said.
29 African Migrants trying to cross to Italy die as Boat Sinks in Tunisia
A boat carrying 29 African migrants trying to cross to Italy has capsized. Tunisia’s coast guard recovered 10 bodies from the migrant boat which sank near the coast, the second vessel to sink within hours off Tunisia, bringing the death toll to 29, according to a security official. According to Al Jazeera, Houssem Jebabli, a national guard official, said that the boat sank off the coast of Mahdia, without giving further details. Earlier on Sunday, a human rights group said at least 19 refugees and migrants from sub-Saharan Africa had drowned off the coast of Tunisia while trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach Italy. Romdhane Ben Amor, an official at the Forum for Social and Economic Rights (FTDES), told the Reuters news agency that the deaths also occurred when a boat carrying the refugees and migrants sank off the coast of Mahdia after a journey that started from Sfax beaches. He said the Tunisian coast guard was able to rescue five people from the boat. Tunisian authorities were not immediately available for comment. Reports of the deaths came as Italy’s ANSA news agency said more than 2,000 asylum seekers had arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa within 24 hours. The agency described the arrivals on Saturday as a “record”. In the last four days, at least five boats carrying refugees and migrants have sunk off the southern city of Sfax, leaving 67 missing and nine dead. The coast guard previously said it had stopped about 80 boats heading for Italy in the past four days and detained more than 3,000 people, mostly from sub-Saharan African countries. The coast near Sfax has become a major departure point for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East in the hope of a better life in Europe. The latest disaster comes amid a campaign of arrests by Tunisian authorities of undocumented sub-Saharan Africans. According to United Nations data, at least 12,000 people who reached Italy this year set sail from Tunisia, compared with 1,300 in the same period of 2022. Previously, Libya was the main departure point for refugees and migrants.
Three arrested over murder of South African Rapper, AKA
Three suspects have been arrested over the murder of South African rapper, Kiernan Forbes, popularly known as AKA. Recall that he was gunned down on February 10, 2023 around Florida Road. Confirming the devastating development, the police in Durban said the rapper was killed in a drive-by shooting on Florida Road by persons in two cars around 10 pm on Friday. It was reported that AKA was standing outside the Wish Restaurant when he was gunned down in a drive-by shooting. Reports, however, emerging in the last week of March, revealed that after investigations into AKA’s killing, the police in Cape Town arrested three people on Sunday after monitoring them during the week. According to reports, the suspects, now in police custody, would be brought to Durban, where they are expected to be charged. Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel André Traut, while addressing journalists referred questions about the arrest to the KwaZulu-Natal police. “It is a KZN case; should we get any information, it will be sent to them. You should contact them for information,” he reportedly told the local publication, The South African.
Why Messi is my toughest opponent ever – Ex-Real Madrid Defender, Marcelo
Marcelo, a former Real Madrid defender, has named his toughest opponent.The footballer named Lionel Messi as the toughest opponent he has faced in his career.Marcelo, who played 15 seasons with the LaLiga champions, came face-to-face with Messi when the Argentine played for Barcelona.He has now admitted it was difficult facing the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.“Messi is incredible, the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced.“We all know the quality he has even now, aged 35, and before it was the same. El Clasico has always been one of the best games to watch and play.“I was lucky enough to have featured in one of the best eras of Clasicos. But it wasn’t just Messi. There were other players who were also incredible,” Marcelo told The Athletic.
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