Daily Express


Madness as Brussels plots to tell us who can come and stay in our country

- By Macer Hall Political Editor

BRUSSELS chiefs last night unveiled plans to end Britain’s control over asylum seekers.

They want a centralise­d EU asylum force with power to meddle in the immigratio­n policies of member states.

It is the European Commission’s response to a crippling migration crisis and would give responsibi­lity for overseeing asylum claims to a quango, the European Asylum Support Offi ce. It could impose quotas of asylum seekers on countries – another huge extension of EU supremacy over national laws.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage warned Britain would be left with no control over who can and cannot stay. David Cameron vowed that

Britain will opt out of the proposal. The Prime Minister insisted there was “no prospect” of the UK Government agreeing to take part.

But critics warned that the move will still have wide- ranging implicatio­ns for Britain’s border control, including a potential block on the Home Office deporting asylum seekers to other EU nations.

Mr Farage said the only way to maintain border control was to get out of the EU.

“Britain must not become part of a common asylum system,” he said.

“That would be to abandon our borders and any chance of maintainin­g the slightest control over who can and who cannot arrive here.

“Cameron swears he will not accept it. But the European Union wants to rip up the rules that mean people stay in the first safe country they land in. If that happens there is nothing he can do.

“The only strong, safe option for the UK when it comes to our asylum process is to leave the EU.” Tory MP David Davies said: “Putting the EU in charge of asylum regulation is like giving a child the key to the whisky cabinet. We might have an opt- out but their courts and parliament­s would try to overrule it.”

Mr Davies warned the change could open up the country to another vast infl ux of migrants.

Alanna Thomas, senior researcher at the Migration Watch think- tank, said: “The proposal is for all applicatio­ns for asylum to be processed by a central EU body. It is a signifi cant shift from current policy, where individual states assess and grant protection to applicants in need.

“It would require treaty change and would represent a signifi cant expansion of the role of the EU. Britain does, however, have an opt- out.”

The plans were announced at an EU summit in Brussels yesterday.

They had been kept secret for months to avoid infl aming opinion in the UK ahead of the EU membership referendum on June 23. Offi cials unveiled the scheme yesterday following pressure for a response to the EU’s migration crisis on its borders. At present, the Malta- based European Asylum Support Offi ce provides advice for national government­s.

But under the plan it would become a federal agency, processing asylum claims across the EU.

There were 1.3 million applicatio­ns for asylum status in the EU last year.

Mr Cameron said the UK’s opt- out from the Schengen agreement meant there was no question of Britain joining a new EU asylum system.

He insisted: “We have an absolutely rock- solid opt- out from these things. There is no prospect of Britain joining a common asylum process.

“We will have our own asylum approach, our own way of doing things, keeping our borders. It underlines the special status we have.”

European Commission offi cials presented two alternativ­e models for overhaulin­g the asylum system.

The most radical option is to share out asylum seekers on a quota basis, regardless of where they arrive.

The other would keep the current system but use quotas if a state was overwhelme­d by a sudden infl ux.

The move comes amid a separate attempt to overhaul the so- called Dublin regulation­s that govern asylum claims in the EU.

Southern European nations argue the rules are unfair because their territory is most accessible to migrants.

The UK could lose its ability to deport asylum seekers to other EU nations if the system is changed.

BRUSSELS is plotting to use the migrant crisis as an excuse to extend its own influence. Eurocrats want to shift the responsibi­lity for overseeing asylum claims to an EU quango in a move that could see Britain lose the right to deport migrants back to other EU countries.

Under the current rules migrants who wish to do so must claim asylum in the first EU country they come to. This is a sensible policy that, if applied correctly, should stop people from moving across the continent to find the most generous benefits and softest asylum officials.

Since the migrant crisis began this system has completely broken down. But the best response is not to rewrite the rule book. It is to ensure that the rules are followed.

Yet for Eurocrats obsessed with achieving ever- closer union the only strategies they are willing to consider involve giving yet more to power to Brussels. Time and again they pursue greater integratio­n as a means of solving problems that were themselves caused by too much integratio­n. Nothing we can do will ever stop them.

When so many of the migrants who come to this country illegally do so from the continent it is vitally important that we have the right to send them back. The idea of a Europe- wide asylum policy flies in the face of our own national interest.

There is only one way to guarantee we do not get caught up in the rampant expansion of Brussels’ power. We must vote to leave on June 23.

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