EU Diplomats Dismiss Starmer’s “Delusional” Migrant Return Plan
Brussels Prioritises Repairing Internal Asylum-System over New UK Deal
In a striking rebuff, the Labour party’s ambitious blueprint for a unique immigration accord with the European Union has been met with mockery and rejection from various European circles. The escalating disagreement sheds light on the deeply rooted conflicts surrounding the ongoing small boats crisis.
European insiders have staunchly clarified that there is “absolutely no question of helping the UK” in this venture until the EU fortifies its presently beleaguered asylum-sharing infrastructure. The EU Commission is currently ensnared in a stalled initiative aimed at implementing a “burden-sharing” system, compelling each member state to harbour a defined quota of asylum seekers per annum, a proposal that has been vehemently opposed by several central and eastern European nations.
Contrary to the government’s claims that Sir Keir Starmer’s initiative to cultivate a new return deal could potentially morph Britain into a haven for a substantial number of migrants from the EU, the Labour leader dismissed such insinuations as “nonsense”. Starmer asserts that any Labour-administered agreement would be distinct and highlighted that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had expressed similar inclinations towards securing an EU return agreement.
Acknowledging that an arrangement with the EU might demand a mutual agreement involving migrant quotas from the EU, Starmer assures that it would diverge significantly from the systems instituted within the member states. On the other hand, Downing Street envisages a more restrained pact, concentrating on repatriating migrants to preceding EU transit nations. In reciprocation, the UK would formulate a limited avenue for asylum seekers possessing family connections in Britain, steering clear of implementing quotas.
Prime Minister Sunak lambasted Starmer’s proposal, arguing that the initiative virtually implies an annual acceptance of 100,000 EU migrants, a scenario he considers non-viable in halting the maritime migrant influx. Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, echoed this sentiment, cautioning that the Labour strategy would essentially confer upon Brussels the power to dictate the migration pattern into the UK. Through a message on the social media platform Twitter/X, Braverman accused Starmer of potentially earmarking Britain as the refuge for undesirable European migrants, casting doubts on the plan’s ability to effectively halt the boats.
Nonetheless, Starmer guaranteed a firm stance against facilitating large-scale migration into the UK. During a diplomatic visit to The Hague, where he liaised with the EU’s law enforcement entity, Europol, to delineate prospects for a post-Brexit security alliance, Starmer underscored that the complex nuances of the negotiation required extensive deliberations and adjustments over time.
However, European diplomats remain unconvinced, sceptical of the possibility of the EU consenting to a tailored agreement with the UK. They stressed that member nations, such as Italy and Greece, are confronting considerably greater challenges from irregular migration compared to the UK.
In reaction to Starmer’s ambition to craft a new UK-EU return accord, a European diplomat critically remarked, “Starmer is deluded if he assumes that European governments, currently besieged by far graver asylum and migration issues than Britain, will extend their assistance.”
Despite the scepticism, Labour representatives have asserted that their strategy to alleviate the small boats crisis is not wholly dependent on a return agreement, with primary efforts focussed on curbing Channel crossings at the outset. Additionally, the party unveiled plans to inaugurate “Nightingale” asylum courts to accelerate the adjudication process of rejected asylum appeals and alleviate the surging backlog of pending cases. This initiative aims to significantly diminish the daily expenditures incurred in accommodating asylum seekers.
Furthermore, a Labour government aspires to establish a specialised “returns unit”, staffed by a thousand individuals to streamline and hasten the deportation of unsuccessful asylum seekers, a strategy they argue would ultimately be economically prudent. Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, elucidated that Labour intends to cease the utilisation of barges, defunct military bases, and hotels, once the existing backlog has been addressed.