E.U. Summit Focuses on ‘Closing Central Mediterranean’
At a Brussels summit, European Union officials pledged to do more to stop refugee boats from Libya, but made no progress in resolving disputes over reforming the asylum system.
“We have a real chance of closing the central Mediterranean route,” said European Council president Donald Tusk, saying he expected results during the next few weeks.
E.U. leaders agreed to provide “stronger support for Italy’s work with the Libyan authorities” and “sufficient finances” to North African countries through the E.U. Trust Fund for Africa, Tusk said, without providing further details.
The E.U. is divided over how to share responsibility for those people who do reach Europe and claim asylum.
Tusk is at odds with members of the European parliament, whose civil liberties committee this week backed a proposal to establish mandatory quotas for E.U. member states to take in refugees relocated around the bloc.
The Visegrad group – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland – refused to participate in a 2015 refugee relocation scheme that expired last month. Tusk, who is focused on keeping the bloc together, said mandatory relocation has no future.
At this week’s summit, he said the E.U. would discuss asylum reform in December and aim for an agreement by mid-2018.
Reuters: U.S. May Increase Vetting for Female, Child Refugees
The Trump administration may put female and child refugees through the same level of security screening as male refugees under stepped-up vetting procedures, sources told Reuters.
The administration suspended refugee resettlement earlier this year, citing the need to review security vetting, with a deadline of Oct. 24.
One proposal under discussion is to remove the lower tier of security checks for women and young children, the sources said, a move likely to slow down refugee admissions.
All refugees are vetted by law enforcement and intelligence when applying to resettle in the United States through a process that usually takes 18-24 months.
Family Reunification ‘Affects Fewer Than Claimed’ in Germany
The number of refugees who would qualify to come to Germany through family reunification is much smaller than previously understood, a new study suggests.
The issue has proven divisive in coalition talks, with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU supporting extending a ban on family reunification for people given “subsidiary protection” for a renewable, one-year period (rather than full refugee status), which is opposed by the Greens.
Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere, who wants to renew the ban, said every refugee in Germany would have the right to bring another person into the country.
But the Institute for Employment Research study found that most refugees are single and do not have children. It estimates that people with refugee status or subsidiary protection would be eligible to bring 150,000 to 180,000 spouses and children to the country. The institute surveyed adult refugees, and did not include around 65,000 unaccompanied children who have come to Germany in the last three years.
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