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Asylum should be granted by national governments

Thursday, 22nd October 2009

East Midlands MEPs Roger Helmer and Emma McClarkin warn that the EU is set to announce new rules today that will determine who is entitled to refugee status in the UK.

The proposals will standardise qualification rules and asylum procedures to create a 'common asylum procedure and a uniform status'. The commission has already recently published plans for a 'joint EU resettlement programme' which will encourage greater cooperation between national governments regarding the resettlement of refugees and asylum seekers.

Miss McClarkin has raised concerns that these proposals could see the UK forced to accept refugees from overburdened countries.

Now the commission wants to harmonise rules on asylum and who qualifies as an asylum seeker with the futile aim of ensuring that no member state is perceived to be more attractive than another.

Mr Helmer, speaking from Strasbourg, said standards regarding refugee status were already laid out in the 1951 UN Convention on refugees. He stresses that messing around with a tried and tested international standard which has stood the test of time will be perilous.

His colleague Miss McClarkin adds that:

"It is becoming clear that the EU is using genuine concerns regarding immigration as an excuse for EU harmonisation.

"Britain stands to lose a central pillar of its sovereignty: the ability to decide who can and cannot enter the UK.

"There are many things the EU can do to help growing immigration concerns. Genuine asylum seekers can already rightly claim asylum in EU member states and we must help southern states who carry a cost for their proximity to Asia and Africa. However such decisions should be based on goodwill and solidarity from other national governments, not on decisions forced on governments by the European Commission."