BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Commission is planning legislation that would use the threat of denied visas to encourage countries outside the bloc to cooperate on repatriating failed asylum seekers, the German newspaper Die Welt reported on Tuesday.
The arrival of more than a million refugees from war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East since 2015 has caused political ructions across Europe, placing governments under pressure to send back more of those who fail to win asylum protection in Europe.
But it has not always been easy to secure the cooperation of transit countries or countries of origin, themselves often subject to enormous macroeconomic strains and security concerns.
Under the proposed legislation, which Die Welt said would be announced on Wednesday, countries that failed to cooperate would first see fewer visas granted to elites - diplomats and those with service passports - for an initial period of three months.
If that failed to secure change, issuance of visas to “normal” citizens would also be reduced, by means including reducing the number of service windows at consulates.
Under the plan, European Union member states would inform the Commission, the EU’s executive arm, if they had trouble repatriating failed asylum seekers. The Commission would then offer a response.
Reporting by Thomas Escritt