Netherlands Joins Call to Shelter Intercepted Asylum Seekers in Non-EU Countries: Report

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The Netherlands and several other European Union member states are preparing a letter urging the European Commission to arrange shelter for asylum seekers in non-EU countries. They propose that asylum seekers intercepted while attempting to reach Europe be housed outside of Europe, as reported by NOS.

The asylum seekers would have the option to apply for asylum in the European Union but would be required to remain in the non-EU country during the application process. Additionally, asylum seekers who have exhausted all legal avenues could be accommodated in non-EU countries until their return journey is initiated.

The proposal originated from the Czech Republic and Denmark. It draws inspiration from an agreement inked between Italy and Albania in November. Albania, despite being a non-EU country, has been accommodating some asylum seekers rescued from the sea at Italy's expense, while Italian authorities process their asylum applications.

The draft letter also references the previous Turkey asylum agreement, implemented when the Netherlands led the EU, as a precedent. This agreement stated that individuals crossing irregularly from Turkey to Greece would be returned to Turkey unless they applied for asylum in Greece. Notably, three aid organizations recently filed a lawsuit against the Dutch State over the Turkey deal, alleging violations of Dutch, international, and EU laws, as well as enduring inhumane conditions on Greek islands.

Specific details regarding which non-EU countries the Netherlands and other EU member states hope the European Commission will partner with are not yet available. According to the report, there are no concrete plans outlined in the letter.

Eric van der Burg, State Secretary for Asylum, told NOS that EU countries are seeking "additional solutions" to mitigate migration challenges. He emphasized the significance of collaboration among nations. "Therefore, I support countries exploring unconventional approaches, such as the agreements established by Italy and Albania," van der Burg said. He also stressed that these solutions must always adhere to international and European laws.


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