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European Union migration proposals welcomed by UN refugee agency

European Union migration proposals welcomed by UN refugee agency

The United Nations refugee agency today welcomed new proposals from the European Union which emphasize that asylum protection must play a key part of any measures to control migration.

The European Commission has published two proposal papers – one on the global approach to migration and the other on managing the EU’s southern maritime borders – ahead of a meeting on the issue of its member States’ justice ministers in Brussels next week.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres praised the proposals’ recognition that fortifying borders alone is not the answer to Europe’s migration challenges.

“Effective migration management must also include safeguards for the many people in need of international protection who arrive at EU borders,” he said, adding that EU refugee protection concerns should not apply only along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

“Protection challenges arise at the EU’s other frontiers, particularly to the east; new strategies and tools must respond also to needs along those external borders.”

In a press release issued in Geneva, UNHCR also said it was willing to help develop some of the ideas contained in the proposal papers, such as the concept of “asylum expert teams” to assist EU member states facing strains on their capacity to receive and respond to arrivals.