Calais Jungle in BRITAIN? Loss of EU law to make UK refugee capital of Europe
Britain is about to become the last chance saloon for every refugee in Europe – and it’s all down to Brexit.
If borders checks move back across the channel, we may end up with camps like the Calais Jungle in Kent.
So far we’ve been saved from the worst of the Mediterranean migrant crisis by various agreements.
But with Brexit straining relations with our neighbours, those deals could soon be history. If that happens, the border moves back to Britain and we have to process all asylum applications here.
The Dublin Regulation means asylum seekers should apply to stay in the first European Union member state they enter.
It’s an EU rule that’s seen Britain deport thousands of refugees who’d already passed through countries closer to conflict zones.
But it also means that anyone whose application for asylum has been rejected by one EU state can’t expect a different answer in another.
Once Brexit kicks in, however, the Dublin deal no longer applies and every rejected refugee in Europe will have a new place to make their case – the UK.
And there’s no guarantee they’ll be stopped at the French frontier, with President Emmanuel Macron planning to shake up the border.
Mr Macron has pledged to renegotiate the Le Touquet agreement, under which Britain does its border checks in France.
If he scraps the deal, a two-year countdown begins, after which Kent faces having migrant camps like the Jungle.
DEMOLISHED: The Calais Jungle became notorious as an improvised camp for refugees and migrants. Source: Getty
And though the UK might be able to negotiate to keep the Dublin deal, the rules may soon change to send more migrants north anyway.
Because asylum seekers are tied to the first EU state they reach, Britain – far removed from war zones – has a buffer against the refugee crisis.
So to make the deal fairer on southern Europe, the EU may spread the burden across all member states – a change Britain can't influence from outside the EU.
Ultimately it means the UK faces a "take-it-or-leave-it" choice on refugees, said Victoria Roeck, writing in the Yale Journal of International Law.
BIG DEAL: The Dublin rules apply to EU states (blue), non-EU states (green) and Denmark (red). Source: WIKIPEDIA – DANLAYCOCK
She writes: "Either accept a new Dublin system that would no longer shield the UK from responsibility toward asylum seekers.
"Or reject [the] Dublin [regulation] and lose the ability to transfer asylum seekers to other EU countries."
In any case, Ms Roeck wrote, the EU is unlikely to let the UK keep the deal because of its attitude towards immigration.
Whilst Norway and Switzerland, both non-EU members, are part of the bargain, the two countries are in the Schengen free-movement zone.
"It would seem unequal to allow the UK to send refugees back to other EU countries while EU citizens no longer get free movement to the UK," she wrote.
And though Brexit may mean more control over normal migration, refugees must be processed using United Nations rules, with or without the EU.
Under the UN's 1951 Refugee Convention, which Britain has signed, there are strong protections for asylum seekers' rights to remain.
The government has not revealed whether it will seek to retain the Dublin regulation, calling it a "key part of the considerations of leaving the EU."