The European Commission will soon set out its new migration policy, which it hopes will help alleviate the on-going crisis in the Mediterranean. More than 1,800 people have died this year while attempting to make the crossing.
Among its proposals will be a plan that would see member states take in refugees according to a quota system. Any such proposal would have to be agreed by states before it was implemented, and it is already facing opposition, including from the UK government.
In a recent interview with the BBC News Channel, Professor Costello argued that such an agreement could help 'streamline' the current EU asylum process, which is governed by the Dublin system. Under this system, asylum-seekers must claim asylum in their country of arrival. In practice this does not always happen – some people arrive on Europe's southern shores and then travel north before making a claim. Professor Costello called the current system 'unfair' and said that a new agreement could help European countries share asylum claims more equally, as well as give asylum-seekers more say in where they make an application.
She also argued that allowing asylum-seekers to claim asylum at European embassies, as well as opening more legal migration routes, would reduce the need to turn to smugglers for help in crossing the Mediterranean. The smugglers, she said, are not creating the demand for crossings. 'The demand is created by refugee crises, and people fleeing for their lives'.