Switzerland has rejected a proposal by the EU to accept an influx of migrants as part of a new ‘refugee relocation’ plan.
After accepting nearly 1,500 migrants brought from Italy and Greece in an initial resettlement program in 2015, the Swiss federal government has refused a request from EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos to “include as many people as possible” in the latest scheme.
"We are currently refraining from participating in the second relocation program," says Emmanuelle Jacquet, State Secretariat for Migration.
Jacquet asserts that the EU has failed to meet certain prerequisites that might compel a different decision from her office.
“There are no longer enough people in Greece and Italy to fulfill the relocation criteria,” reports Blick. “According to these criteria, the persons should have been registered by the EU migration authorities before October 2017 and have a very high chance of having a positive asylum decision.”
A spokesman for the Swiss Refugee Agency has criticized the move, accusing the Swiss government of refusing to “show solidarity” with other European countries who have signed on to the practice of welcoming migrants.
Since 2015, Swiss authorities have progressively tightened the screws on some aspects of the asylum application process, closing loopholes for certain groups who are little more than economic migrants - not persecuted refugees.
In April, the Migration office notified 3,200 Eritrean migrants that their residence permits were under review after the Federal Administrative Court ruled that Eritreans would no longer be recognized as de facto ‘refugees.’
“The illegal exit from (Eritrea) cannot in itself justify recognition as a refugee” the court decided after it was discovered that Eritreans were taking vacations to their home country after being granted asylum in Switzerland.
Eritreans comprised the largest group of asylum seekers in 2017 with over 3,300 applications.
(PHOTO: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)