The Quaker Council for European Affairs has endorsed a joint civil society statement expressing concerns about Article 5 of the proposed EU Screening Regulation. The statement addresses the potential implications of expanding screening procedures to all undocumented individuals within the territories of EU member states, in particular the risk of discriminatory profiling of racialised communities.
The proposed Article 5 of the EU Screening Regulation, a key legislative component of the EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, seeks to extend screening procedures beyond borders to include all undocumented individuals apprehended within member states’ territories. This measure would exacerbate the issue of racial profiling, despite evidence showing that this form of harmful and discriminatory treatment is already problematically high across the EU.
The statement highlights several central concerns regarding Article 5:
- Widespread Discriminatory Profiling: The application of screening procedures across the entire EU territory may encourage discriminatory profiling based on racial, ethnic, national, or religious characteristics. This increases the risk of discriminatory controls targeted against minorities and people of colour, irrespective of their citizenship or residence status.
- Arbitrary Apprehension: Expanding the scope of screening beyond border areas could justify the arbitrary apprehension of individuals perceived by the police as having entered the country irregularly.
- Arbitrary Deprivation of Liberty (De Facto Detention): The proposed regulation could lead to the arbitrary apprehension and potential detention of undocumented people, including families and children, for up to 3 or 5 days in designated facilities within member states’ territories.
- Lack of Consideration of Non-Refoulement and Human Rights Grounds: Screening procedures, as outlined in Article 5, lack an assessment of reasons for which an individual who does not qualify for international protection may not be deported. This raises concerns about non-refoulement, health, protection of family and private life, or the best interests of the child.
- Proportionality Concerns: The proportionality of Article 5 in serving the objectives of the Screening Regulation is questioned. A European Parliament legal service opinion seen by PICUM suggests that the measure would not result in better management of external borders, and would need a different legal basis.
As an organization dedicated to promoting peace, justice, and equality, QCEA advocates for EU policies that respect the dignity and rights of all individuals, regardless of their migration status. In alignment with the European Parliament’s position, QCEA endorses the call to delete Article 5 from the proposed Screening Regulation. We call on legislators to consider the need to address these concerns to ensure the protection of fundamental rights and avoid the harmful impact on racialized communities across the European Union.