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Justice minister calls for EU return policy for migrants

Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter at a press conference in Athens on October 22 Keystone / Yannis Kolesidis

Europe must prevent illegal immigration within the Schengen area, says Swiss Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter. If the European Union can’t protect its external border, there can’t be freedom of travel within Europe, she insists.

This content was published on November 1, 2021 - 11:24
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Having recently returned from working visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina and then GreeceExternal link, Keller-Sutter said that Europe must take coordinated action against secondary migration. This is when migrants move from the country in which they first arrived to seek protection or permanent resettlement elsewhere.

In an interviewExternal link with the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) on Monday she pointed out that only 2% of all migrants who come to Bosnia actually apply for asylum there – “most want to get into the Schengen Area”, the passport-free zone of which Switzerland is a member. Greece also serves as a transit point for many people, she said.

“Secondary migration has become a stress test for the entire European asylum system,” she said, adding that a common European repatriation policy was needed.

“If refugees could choose in which country they wanted to live, that would be the beginning of the end of the Dublin system.”

Keller-Sutter said the accelerated procedure for asylum applications in Switzerland had proved its worth.

Since she took over the justice ministry three years ago almost all cases under the old law have been reduced, she said. “There are now 130 cases. Before that there were more than 11,000.”

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