EU to speed up deportations of failed asylum seekers

EU agrees to beef up Frontex and speed up deportations of failed asylum seekers

The EU has agreed to beef up its border force Frontex in order to speed up deportations of failed asylum seekers, international media have revealed.

The EU interior ministers also called for more effective re-admission deals with countries of origin outside the EU, so that more refugees go home, it was revealed at the end of talks of the Council of the EU held earlier today.

The talks also stressed that EU states should detain refugees who may abscond before they are deported.

More than 550,000 people have reached the EU this year, many of them war refugees, with Germany hosting the most. Most refugees qualify for asylum under international law and EU countries generally grant asylum to Syrians, Iraqis and Eritreans, but not to the many economic migrants from Africa and Asia.

Last year more than half a million non-EU migrants were found to be "illegally present" in the 28-nation bloc and most were ordered to leave, but only about 40% of them were deported.

"Frontex should be allocated adequate resources to enable it to scale up substantially its support on return [of migrants]," EU ministers agreed.

The BBC adds that the EU is setting up "hotspots" in Italy and Greece, or new refugee registration centres, so that arrivals can be filtered and priority given to refugees in need of international protection.

However, the pressure is so great on Italy and Greece that 120,000 refugees are to be relocated EU-wide from those countries, starting on Friday.

The EU Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said "the first relocation plane of Eritreans is taking off tomorrow from Italy to Sweden - this means that they have been registered, fingerprinted, identified and screened for relocation".

Avramopoulos said the first EU hotspot in Italy "is operational already in Lampedusa", which has struggled to cope with the influx of refugees for more than a year.

Hundreds have drowned off Lampedusa, after crowding on to rickety boats that set sail from Libya.

Many EU politicians are under domestic pressure to expel more refugees, amid a nationalist backlash across Europe. Reports show for instance that in the eastern German city of Erfurt about 8,000 people protested against Chancellor Angela Merkel's welcome for refugees, and in Finland arsonists tried to set fire to a refugee reception centre in the southern town of Lammi.

The BBC adds that EU foreign ministers and officials from Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and the Balkan states were joining the Luxembourg talks to discuss ways to stem the flow of migrants, and that tensions boiled over between Balkan neighbours this summer because of the numbers heading north, hoping for asylum in the EU.

Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq are hosting nearly four million Syrians - mostly in very basic conditions, and far more than the numbers reaching Europe.