UK: Home secretary hardens refusal to accept EU resettlement programme

‘Migrants’ disembark from the Italian navy ship Vega in the Sicilian harbour of Augusta, southern Italy, May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

The home secretary, Theresa May, has hardened Britain’s refusal to accept a mandatory European Union refugee quota system being put forward in Brussels this week in response to the Mediterranean migrant boat crisis.

The Home Office has said it will refuse to accept any refugees under this week’s proposed EU emergency resettlement programme. But it has now said it will also refuse to take part in any future permanent EU system to relocate asylum seekers who make it across the Mediterranean or to resettle refugees from outside Europe.

The hardening of Britain’s refusal to share any responsibility for the refugees or migrants caught up in the Mediterranean boat crisis was roundly criticised by British refugee organisations. “It is shameful that the British government seems eager to opt out of doing the right thing by some of the world’s most desperate people,” said Anna Musgrave of the Refugee Council…

…The home secretary insisted that the focus instead must be on targeting and stopping the people-smugglers behind the trade across the Mediterranean, including establishing “a more effective process of returning illegal migrants”…

Related: The UK also wants to slow down the influx of people moving from parts of the EU in order to receive benefits, by making it harder to obtain them.

This would require changes to the EU treaties. Today, Germany has announced they refuse to consider any EU treaty changes.