EU member-states are considering ways to harmonise asylum / immigration policy and to control the use of the asylum process as a way to get around immigration controls. Unfortunately, none of their plans amount to more than ineffective sticking-plaster responses to an enormous problem.
The core problem is the twofold one that a.) anyone who seeks asylum must be allowed in and b.) that once on your territory it is hugely difficult to remove asylum-seekers who have failed the process - only a small minority are removed. So the whole process is a sham. The implicit bargain 'if you pass you stay, if you fail you go' is almost universally broken. The receiving country is tied to its bargain by the Geneva Convention; the asylum-seeker does not keep his side of it.
This comes very close to being effectively an open-borders policy. Essentially anyone who can make it to your borders and utter the words asylum is in and will stay in.
It must be obvious that this is a gross injustice to receiving countries and cannot continue. The primary duty of the governments of these countries is to their own citizens. They are only bound by the Geneva Convention for as long as they choose to be. Article 44 of that Convention allows each signatory state to give 12 months notice and withdraw from it.
It is now time to do this. The citizens of Europe are entitled to put an end to this abuse of their generosity.
It need not mean that no one will be given asylum. There already exists a system (in Ireland and presumably in other countries) whereby U.N.H.C.R. nominates a number of vulnerable individuals or families which the receiving country agrees to take to the degree it finds acceptable. This system could be expanded and could operate somewhat like the programme-refugee system.
In 1977 in Czechoslovakia a human rights campaign was launched which received support across Europe. We are now (October 1999) launching "Charter 44".
Just as in 1977 Charter '77 was a call for human rights, today Charter 44 is a call for human rights. Just as East Timor should belong to the East Timorese; just as Tibet should belong to the Tibetans; so Europeans are entitled to their respective countries.
Rights are universal; we Europeans are entitled to ours.
We call on the people of the EU to demand of their governments the policy outlined above.