Now EU member states want their own Rwanda-style migrant deportation programme: Denmark, Greece and Austria use Brussels conference to urge bloc to follow UK lead to stem flow of Mediterranean boats
- Leaders from Denmark, Greece and Austria are pushing for a tougher approach
A group of EU countries are urging the Brussels-based bloc to seek ‘innovative’ ways to deal with illegal migration – in an apparent nod to Britain’s deal with Rwanda.
Leaders from countries including Denmark, Greece and Austria are reportedly using this week’s European Council summit to push the EU to adopt a tougher approach.
The gathering of EU leaders in Brussels has already seen splits emerge over a recent migration deal – passed with majority but not unanimous support – on relocating asylum seekers across the continent.
Hungary and Poland are leading opponents of the agreement and pushed Thursday’s talks on migration into the early hours.
But there is also pressure on the bloc’s leaders to do more to stem the numbers of people continuing to arrive in Europe via dangerous Mediterranean routes.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece, is among those reported to be using this week’s European Council summit to push the EU to adopt a tougher approach
There is pressure on EU bosses to do more to stem the numbers of people continuing to arrive in Europe via dangerous Mediterranean routes
Home Secretary Suella Braverman, pictured with Rwanda President Paul Kagame in March, are fighting a legal challenge against their migration deal with the African country
Earlier this year, the leaders of Denmark, Greece and Austria – joined by their counterparts in Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Malta – penned a letter to EU bosses.
They called for the bloc to be ‘open to explore new solutions and innovative ways of tackling irregular migration and prevent flows, including by looking into new and effective approaches with partner countries’.
They also want the bloc to develop ‘legally enabling, safe third country arrangements with relevant countries along the EU’s external border and beyond’.
One European ambassador told The Times: ‘This appears to be similar to the British Rwanda model.’
The newspaper said the Netherlands and Italy were also supportive of following the ‘British approach’ on migration.
The opening of this week’s European Council summit in Brussels coincided with Court of Appeal judges ruling the UK’s £120m migration partnership with Rwanda unlawful.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman have vowed to challenge the decision in the Supreme Court as their try to meet their pledge to ‘stop the boats’ crossing the Channel.
The deal with Rwanda to send asylum seekers on a one-way ticket to the African country is seen by the Government as providing a deterrent to those thinking of arriving in Britain on small dinghies.
According to Politico, a draft joint statement for this week’s EU summit tried to skirt around the demand by some member states for the bloc to look for its own asylum deals with third countries.
The website said drafters slipped in a reference to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s pledge to pursue ‘out-of-box thinking’ on key matters.
It was reported this phrase was given positive mentions from several leaders during yesterday’s talks.