10th July 2012: Yesterday at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following speech to a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on Readmission Agreements***.
"At first sight, the concept of a readmission seems to be based on a questionable premiss: that a country needs to agree - and by extension can disagree - to readmit those who are not just its citizens* but its nationals*.
"However, I can understand an unwillingness to accept back citizens of third countries who have used the country concerned as a country of transit but countries should not allow themselves to be used as countries of transit.
"Nevertheless, it would appear that the Iraqi Parliament has voted to refuse to accept repatriated Iraqi failed asylum seekers who have lost their right to remain in Britain. Furthermore, Iraq has turned back failed Iraqi asylum seekers on its road borders and has threatened to fine airlines that carry deportees.** It has been reported that the people concerned are Iraqis and not citizens of third countries.
"We are used to individuals seeking asylum, when they are really economic migrants. However, for a country from which a failed asylum seeker comes, to refuse to accept its own nationals is quite astounding. Of course Western governments can be relied upon to back down to such outrageous behaviour. The British Government has failed to return any failed asylum seekers to Iraq since March 2012."
* Citizens are those who have a legal right to be a member of a state. A national is one who is descended from the indigenous inhabitants of a country. Many people are, of course, both citizens and nationals.
** The Daily Mail 3rd July 2012
*** Readmission agreements are agreements between the EU and third countries under which the third country agrees to accept back its own citizens who are illegal immigrants in the EU and (possibly) citizens of third countries who have entered the EU through the country concerned.
Response from Mr. Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for Home Affairs of the European Commission:
Whilst he did not respond to any of my comments, he volunteered the view that the EU in the future needs more immigrants because it has ageing populations.
He also said, in answer to a question from another MEP that countries were offered visa facilitation and liberalisation in return for agreeing to readmission agreements. This means that in return for accepting their own people back, it will be made easier for their people to travel to the EU!