The EU Migration and Asylum Pact, published September 23 by the European Commission, aims to offer new momentum to negotiations between EU Member States on migration policy. It follows years of deadlock on key issues facing the EU, including search and rescue in the Mediterranean Sea and the relocation of asylum seekers from overcrowded camps and facilities on the Greek islands and elsewhere.
KIND and Child Circle welcome the Pact’s recognition that “the reform of EU rules on asylum and return is an opportunity to strengthen safeguards and protection standards under EU law for migrant children.” We also welcome the exemption of unaccompanied children from the proposed punitive new EU border procedures.
However, we are concerned that these stricter EU border procedures proposed for adults and families with children over 12 may place unaccompanied children and children with families seeking protection in the EU at great risk of reduced procedural safeguards and lengthy detention. We also share the alarm expressed by many organisations that the EU plans to help rebuild reception facilities in Lesvos. The small island has a limited capacity to provide proper reception, support, and assistance to vulnerable asylum seekers and migrants. Read more here.