December 4, 2023

The British Home Secretary meets with Home Secretary Carner

The meeting will focus on combating terrorism and asylum procedures in third countries. It is also planned to conclude a cooperation agreement.

British Home Secretary Suella Braverman will meet Home Secretary Gerhard Karner in Vienna on Thursday. Discussion of the work has previously focused on counter-terrorism and asylum procedures in third countries. A cooperation agreement is also scheduled to be concluded on increasing cooperation in the fight against terrorism, organized crime and illegal migration, according to the Vienna Ministry of the Interior.

Karner said about the visit, according to what his ministry reported, “Great Britain has great experience when it comes to implementing asylum procedures outside Europe in the future.” Austria can also benefit from British experiences. “We will continue to work constantly to ensure that the EU Commission strengthens and thus empowers these asylum procedures outside Europe.”

The Home Office said the UK’s cooperation with Rwanda was of particular importance. The two countries concluded a cooperation agreement in the asylum sector in the spring of last year.

Karner: The European Union should rely on cooperation with a third country

Karner, in cooperation with Denmark, called on his EU counterparts to ensure that such cooperation with a third country will also be possible in the EU in the future. “More and more countries are moving towards the Austrian line. Expanded cooperation with a third country should also be enforceable through the Asylum and Migration Convention,” the Interior Ministry said.

The Conservative government’s plans in London stipulate that people who entered the United Kingdom illegally could be deported to Rwanda in East Africa in order to apply for asylum there. There are no plans to return to the UK. The project is controversial. The High Court in London is currently dealing with this matter.

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Outsourcing of asylum procedures

In June, a majority of judges at the Court of Appeal in London ruled that Rwanda could not be considered a safe third country. The reason is the shortcomings in the asylum procedures there. It cannot be ruled out that those seeking protection from Rwanda will be deported to their countries of origin despite their right to asylum. So the judges declared the project illegal. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government appealed this decision.

To date, no asylum seekers have been transferred from the UK to Rwanda in the manner intended. In June of the previous year, the European Court of Human Rights halted a planned flight with a temporary injunction.

Means of deterrence

The government in London also sees the Rwanda plan as a deterrent to stop people making the dangerous crossing across the English Channel to reach the UK. At the beginning of the year, Prime Minister Sunak announced that he wanted to “stop the boats” as one of five policy promises. In 2022, 45,755 people arrived in the country via this route, a new record. (Abba)