117.Witnesses agreed that the UK and the EU should continue to cooperate on asylum matters after Brexit. Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, for example, said:
“Whether you are inside or outside the European Union, the reality is that [the UK] will remain part of the broader geographical area and, therefore, will be very much impacted by the regional flows that we see across the continent. I think you will need to continue to be part of some kind of co-operation agreement.”
118.Eleanor Harrison told us: “It has to be a pan-European response because the flows of refugees change … otherwise you are trying to predetermine how people will travel.”
119.Alice Lucas believed it would be mutually beneficial for the EU and the UK to maintain asylum cooperation after Brexit, to fulfil their international obligations relating to refugee protection. UK-EU cooperation to maintain safe, legal asylum routes would also be financially beneficial, as it would reduce the need to spend “vast sums on expensive border security measures.” In written evidence, Refugee Rights Europe suggested that UK-EU asylum cooperation after Brexit could also have a positive impact on the UK’s bilateral relationships with EU Member States “experiencing significant strain on their asylum systems”.
120.The British Red Cross and the Refugee Council agreed that asylum cooperation should be part of any agreement on the future UK-EU relationship, as inter-governmental collaboration was the only way to respond effectively to the needs of displaced people.
121.Colin Yeo drew our attention to the Government’s July 2018 White Paper on the future UK-EU relationship, which set out a broad framework for a “new, strategic relationship to address the global challenges of asylum and illegal migration”. This framework would include:
122.Few of these ambitious objectives have been reflected in subsequent publications. The November 2018 Political Declaration on the future UK-EU relationship made no mention of asylum cooperation and contained only a short section on illegal migration. The UK Government’s December 2018 Immigration White Paper referenced its intention to negotiate:
123.While acknowledging its flaws, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor said UNHCR hoped that the Dublin System would be the basis for future UK-EU asylum cooperation:
“[Dublin] is a solid framework. We believe that there would be an interest for all parties concerned in using it as a basis for further negotiation … It is not just about pushing responsibility away; it is about determining where responsibility lies. That is an important element. It is also a way of ensuring that certain legitimate concerns of claimants, such as family reunion, are properly taken into account in the decision on where claims ought to be examined.”
124.Prof Ryan and Alan Desmond thought that the terms for asylum cooperation after Brexit should be set out in a UK-EU association agreement. Relevant articles in the EU’s association agreements with States that border the EU could provide an “initial option”, but the UK’s existing participation in CEAS measures pointed to “the desirability of more specific and developed provision being made” for UK-EU asylum cooperation.
125.Based on the objectives for future UK-EU asylum cooperation set out in the July 2018 White Paper on the future relationship, Dr Zaun drew our attention to Norway’s relationship with the CEAS as an “interesting” potential model for future UK-EU asylum cooperation.
In 1950 a Nordic passport union, abolishing internal border checks, was established to facilitate cross-border travel between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. To maintain this union after Sweden, Finland and Denmark joined the EU, Iceland and Norway reached agreements to become associated members of the Schengen Area. As such, Norway has a responsibility to uphold the EU’s external borders, and participates in relevant legislation including the EU Returns Directive.
With regard to the CEAS, Norway has agreed to apply the Dublin and Eurodac Regulations, but is not bound by the Directives on asylum procedures, qualification, reception conditions, or temporary protection. Nonetheless, Norway is required to remain broadly compliant with EU asylum rules, and it has sought to harmonise with EU standards to avoid ‘pull factors’, which might make it a more attractive destination to asylum seekers than EU Member States. Norway has also been involved in the development of EASO.
As a non-Member State, Norway is not part of negotiations on CEAS proposals, but participates in asylum-related EU summits and meetings by invitation.
Source: Jan-Paul Brekke & Anne Staver, ‘The renationalisation of migration policies in times of crisis: the case of Norway’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 44, (2018), pp 2163–2181: [accessed 20 August 2019]
126.Prof Ryan and Alan Desmond, however, did not think that the UK would be in a comparable position to the non-EU, Schengen-associated States after Brexit: “Those states are covered by Dublin and Eurodac arrangements for reasons of functional necessity, rather than as a policy choice (as it would be in the case of the UK).”
127.The differences between the circumstances of Norway and a post-Brexit UK were also highlighted during the Committee’s visit to Oslo in June 2019. In particular, it was suggested that the political imperative of the 2016 referendum for less alignment with the EU would make the UK unlikely to embrace Norway’s approach of ‘decision shaping, not decision making’. The tendency in the UK to conflate asylum pressures with EU freedom of movement was also contrasted with Norway, where migration concerns could be controversial but were largely seen as a national rather than a European issue.
128.For the Refugee Council, minimum standards were “an essential prerequisite for any negotiations on a framework for future [asylum] cooperation”. Without them, they saw a risk that “basic levels of treatment would be levelled down to achieve a new legal agreement”.
129.Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor also found it difficult to imagine a future UK-EU asylum cooperation agreement that was not “underpinned by a shared understanding of … minimum standards”. This alignment should not be at the “lowest common denominator”, but should “truly embody the spirit and the letter” of the Refugee Convention and ECHR.
130.Prof Ryan and Alan Desmond suggested:
“The UK may wish to guarantee future alignment in standards of protection and assistance, as part of the negotiations on a new legal framework for future UK-EU asylum cooperation. In particular, that would tend to strengthen the case for its continued participation in the Dublin System and the EU’s Asylum and Migration Fund.”
131.The reunion of separated refugee families was the primary concern for witnesses in considering the UK’s future relationship with the Dublin System. Refugee Rights Europe noted that the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 committed the UK Government to seek an agreement with the EU to facilitate family reunion for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (see Box 6). They called on the Government to ensure that this agreement was “urgently negotiated, within a specified timeframe to ensure that refugee children [were] not left trapped in potentially harmful environments”.
During the passage of the Bill, Lord Dubs tabled an amendment to insert a new clause requiring the Government to try to negotiate to maintain the arrangement whereby unaccompanied child refugees in one EU Member State are able to join relatives in another. This amendment passed in the House of Lords, and both Houses eventually accepted a Government amendment, which became section 17 of the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018:
Family unity for those seeking asylum or other protection in Europe
1.A Minister of the Crown must seek to negotiate, on behalf of the United Kingdom, an agreement with the EU under which, after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, in accordance with the agreement—
(a)an unaccompanied child who has made an application for international protection to a member State may, if it is in the child’s best interests, come to the United Kingdom to join a relative who—
(i)is a lawful resident of the United Kingdom, or
(ii)has made a protection claim which has not been decided, and
(b) an unaccompanied child in the United Kingdom, who has made a protection claim, may go to a member State to join a relative there, in equivalent circumstances.
132.The British Red Cross welcomed section 17, but argued that its scope should be expanded to maintain all family reunion routes currently available under the Dublin III Regulation.
133.ECRU and Liverpool Law Clinic said: “Any attempts to level down to the requirements for family unity under UK immigration law more generally should be strongly resisted”. Safe Passage agreed that existing Dublin III family reunion rules should be regarded as minimum standards in any future UK-EU asylum cooperation agreement. In particular they argued that:
In oral evidence, Eleanor Harrison stressed the importance of the first of these points:
“You might feel, ‘I can understand that it’s in the best interests of the child if we’re reuniting them with a parent, for example, but maybe it’s not so important if it’s an aunt’, but often these people have come on very perilous journeys. We have certainly had to deal with people who have lost family members on the way; they did not start out as an unaccompanied minor but lost family members in the Mediterranean, and their last living relative might be an aunt or uncle in the UK. That shows you how important it is to have that family link rather than leaving a child unaccompanied and without parents in Greece.”
134.Dr Zaun believed that the UK would have an interest in replicating the Dublin System beyond simply its family reunion provisions—and seeking continued access to the Eurodac fingerprint database—in order to achieve its objective of being able to send asylum seekers back to the first European country they entered.
135.Colin Yeo agreed that the UK would need access to Eurodac to have “meaningful cooperation about accepting or removing people from the EU”, as it would be “very difficult to match people or to check identity without ready access to it”. But he added:
“I do not know how realistic it is for the UK to get access to Eurodac, which is not a static thing. It is something that the EU is developing over time and there are plans to expand it away from being just about asylum to other types, such as irregular migration, and perhaps regular migration … Whether that is realistic when the UK is pulling out of the rest of the system is a bit of an open question.”
136.On the other hand, Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor saw no reason why the UK should not be able to seek to negotiate continued access to Eurodac. As a “common-sense statement”, it would be in the UK and the EU’s interests for the database to be “used, accessed and fed by a larger number of participants rather than a smaller number.”
137.Refugee Rights Europe highlighted other measures they thought should form part of any future UK-EU asylum cooperation agreement, including:
138.Public Health England emphasised the importance of ensuring that any UK-EU cooperation agreement should work towards a health-sensitive asylum system, including pre-departure health assessments for asylum seekers being transferred to the UK from an EU country; specified protocols for health assessments, in line with the UK’s refugee resettlement schemes; and fulfilment of safeguarding requirements for vulnerable asylum seekers, such as unaccompanied children.
139.Witnesses highlighted various factors which could influence negotiations on a future UK-EU asylum cooperation agreement, key among which was the possible establishment of an EU ‘responsibility (or burden) sharing’ mechanism to relocate asylum seekers from Member States facing high numbers of arrivals (as envisaged in the proposed Dublin IV Regulation).
140.Although the UK Government has declined to opt into any negotiations on a responsibility sharing mechanism, some witnesses believed that the UK should be prepared to participate in a Europe-wide policy, and to take its ‘fair share’ of asylum seekers rather than letting the burden fall on countries like Germany, Sweden, Italy and Greece. Refugee Rights Europe thought that the UK should also be prepared to waive the criterion for the first EU country an individual entered to take responsibility for their asylum claim, in order to “alleviate disproportionate pressure on EU front-line states and ensure a more even distribution of asylum claims across Europe”.
141.Jon Featonby pointed out that the EU itself was “struggling to get to grips with exactly what it [wanted] its own policies and procedures to look like”. As we noted at paragraph 32, EU States do not agree on what constitutes ‘responsibility sharing’ with regard to asylum seekers, and plans to establish a mechanism to relocate asylum seekers across the EU in the Dublin IV Regulation have stalled negotiations on the entire package of CEAS reforms proposed in 2016.
142.Dr Beirens believed that this question would “determine the relationship and the cooperation agreements that will be struck with the UK”, not least because the EU would not want to “send out mixed signals” to Member States in the Visegrád group (who have opposed responsibility sharing) on its expectations in this area. Nevertheless, Dr Beirens thought that the UK might conclude it had an interest in participating in such measures after Brexit, either to show solidarity with EU Member States facing disproportionate pressures or to secure access to other EU Justice and Home Affairs cooperation tools. Dr Beirens suggested that the UK was in a “weaker bargaining position” than the EU in seeking to negotiate an agreement on returns, as it had historically made more requests for EU Member States to take back asylum seekers than the other way around. As such, if the UK wanted to secure a follow-up to Dublin returns procedures, it would have to put “other, much broader, bargaining chips on the table”.
143.Dr Zaun acknowledged the UK’s concerns regarding Dublin IV, suggesting that the UK could wait until after it was agreed before deciding whether to try to re-join the Dublin System. She thought that Dublin IV would probably end up containing voluntary forms of responsibility sharing, rather than a mandatory corrective allocation mechanism. This could be acceptable to the UK, showing “good will for future cooperation with the EU”, while allowing it to decide how many asylum seekers to take.
144.On the other hand, Prof Guild suggested that the flaws of the Dublin System could limit the options for UK participation:
“If we cannot even have a system of distribution of asylum seekers within the EU among States that, at least in theory, are tied to one another, the chances of sending them to third countries will be much diminished.”
145.Dr Zaun suggested that EU law was developing in the direction of allowing child refugees to sponsor their parents to join them, and the EU might expect the UK to liberalise its position on family reunification along these lines as well.
146.ECRU and Liverpool Law Clinic told us that the UK would have to demonstrate that it could offer adequate minimum standards to secure continued participation in the Dublin System. In doing so, the UK would need to address the “significant gaps” between the standards of protection for asylum seekers set out in UK law and those delivered in practice.
147.Finally, ILPA questioned the extent to which the UK could pursue any kind of engagement with the CEAS while “simultaneously abrogating the jurisdiction of the CJEU”.
148.As we noted in paragraph 86, a number of bilateral agreements between the UK and EU Member States such as France and Belgium underpin cooperation on border management. Witnesses were clear that this bilateral cooperation was central to the effective management of asylum flows. There was no consensus, however, on the question of whether new bilateral asylum cooperation agreements—or the reinforcement of existing agreements—would be necessary or desirable after Brexit.
149.Prof Guild told us:
“I really think that the Le Touquet agreement is as far as you can go … I very much doubt that outside the EU framework the UK will be able to negotiate anything further to accommodate diminishing flows of persons. Practically, one sees it as a very difficult scenario.”
Developing this point, Prof Guild explained that, to France, the Calais situation was an exception that did not occur on its borders with any other EU Member State. For France, the lifting of border controls through membership of the Schengen Area was the best way not to have “people living in squalid conditions, seeking to try to cross a border that they cannot get across”. Colin Yeo agreed that the UK got “quite a good deal out of the current arrangements”, and said it was “hard to see what the French would gain from any possible UK asks” to develop them further.
150.The Refugee Council envisaged future bilateral agreements that would “genuinely prioritise protection [for asylum seekers] over security concerns”. Alice Lucas agreed, arguing that the situation in northern France showed current approaches were not working: the French asylum system was overstretched, there were numerous reports of police violence, and people were left without access to shelter or healthcare.
151.Refugee Rights Europe called for the UK to work with France to find an effective resolution to this situation, “rather than contributing further … funding towards heightened securitisation in the area”. They believed future cooperation should include, but not be limited to:
152.Noting the recent UK commitment of €50 million under the Sandhurst Treaty, Dr Beirens suggested that the Belgian Government would look to the UK for support to manage “problems in the Brussels-North station and people waiting in the coastal towns” to try to reach the UK.
153.Jan Bayart explained that action to dismantle the migrant camps in France had, to some extent, moved the problem of “transmigrants”—people seeking to travel through other countries to seek asylum in the UK—to Belgium. Mr Bayart said significant recent increases in the number of police interceptions of “people trying to infiltrate transport means or port zones in Belgium” had put a “considerable strain” on Belgian police and security services. He concluded:
“As both sides at the operational level have concluded that we face a joint challenge and that a joint effort is the best way to tackle it, there is a logical hope and expectation on the Belgian side that such a joint effort would extend to a joint financial effort—all the more so because we have noticed that such agreements have been reached between the United Kingdom and France and we think that we are as valuable a partner and friend to the UK as our French neighbours.”
154.Dr Zaun noted that, while bilateral arrangements on asylum responsibility had been suggested as an alternative to a UK-EU agreement, such an approach could face legal barriers. For example, EU Member States would not be allowed to conclude bilateral arrangements on responsibility sharing, as this was provided for under the Dublin System.
155.Prof Guild told us that Member States were allowed to enter into other bilateral arrangements on family reunion. Nonetheless, as the EU Family Reunification Directive established minimum standards for family reunification for refugees, any agreement between the UK and an EU Member State in this area would have to be consistent with the “threshold of rights” set out in the Directive.
156.Colin Yeo concluded:
“In practical terms, even if you could negotiate a bilateral arrangement with another EU country that was compatible with EU law, it is rather laborious to do that with each country. It is far more efficient to enter into some sort of arrangement with the EU through the [CEAS].”
157.Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Security and Deputy for EU Exit and No Deal Preparation, confirmed: “We value close cooperation with the EU on asylum and migration matters, and we want that to continue”. The Minister told us that there was no precedent for a non-EU country outside the Schengen Area to participate in the Dublin Regulation. It might not be impossible to secure the UK’s continued participation in Dublin as a third country, but this was not the Government’s aim. Instead, the Government sought to negotiate a new reciprocal returns agreement—ideally underpinned by a system like Eurodac—to ensure that illegal migrants and asylum seekers could be returned to the country they entered the UK or EU from, or that they had a connection with (for example, a student visa). This, the Minister said, would “reflect the UK’s unique geographical position in relation to the EU, and the ongoing need for consistent messaging to migrants about secondary movements between the EU and the UK.”
158.The Minister suggested that Brexit provided an opportunity to achieve a “more effective and ambitious” agreement with the EU than the Dublin System, and was confident that the UK could negotiate a returns agreement including illegal migrants rather than just asylum seekers. This system might share some similarities with, but would not replicate, the Dublin System. The Government would, however, seek continued participation with Eurodac, EASO, and EUNAVFOR MED.
159.The Minister reiterated the Government’s opposition to responsibility sharing with regard to the redistribution of asylum seekers across the EU. He did not expect the future UK-EU relationship to be underpinned by such a proposal, even in the case of a voluntary relocation programme.
160.There is a clear shared interest in maintaining UK-EU asylum cooperation after Brexit, to support the effective management of regional migration flows in Europe. Properly managed migration will also ensure that asylum seekers and refugees—some of the most vulnerable groups in society—can continue to exercise their right to claim asylum, and receive adequate protection and integration in a timely and humane way.
161.We support the Government’s ambition, as set out in the July 2018 White Paper on the future UK-EU relationship, to establish a new, strategic relationship with the EU on asylum and illegal migration after Brexit. But we are particularly concerned by the conspicuous lack of any reference to future UK-EU asylum cooperation in the November 2018 Political Declaration. Whether as part of any wider association agreement, or a specific cooperation arrangement, it is vital that refugees and asylum seekers are considered in any agreement on the future UK-EU relationship.
162.Future UK-EU asylum cooperation should take the Dublin System as its starting point and include a framework for the speedy resolution of refugee family reunion cases and a returns mechanism, ideally based on continued UK access to the Eurodac database. It should have at its heart a shared agreement on, and commitment to uphold, minimum standards for refugee protection, asylum procedures, qualification, and reception conditions. Additional agreements on data protection and the respective jurisdiction of EU and UK courts will be needed to facilitate these arrangements.
163.While the relationship of Norway with the CEAS provides a precedent for the participation of non-EU countries in the Dublin System, the UK is unlikely to be able to replicate these arrangements after Brexit, as unlike Norway it is not, and has no intention of becoming, part of the Schengen Area. Nonetheless, Dublin represents a more desirable and realistic foundation for the future UK-EU asylum relationship than attempting to create new returns arrangements from scratch. There is no evidence to support the Government’s suggestion that the UK as a third country could negotiate a “more effective and ambitious” agreement for the return or transfer of asylum seekers than the EU has been able to achieve between Member States.
164.We believe that it is imperative that the right to reunion for refugee families should not be restricted after the UK leaves the EU. All routes to family reunion available under the Dublin System should be maintained in the new legal framework for UK-EU asylum cooperation, together with robust procedural safeguards to minimise delays in reuniting separated refugee families. Neither the UK nor the EU should contemplate vulnerable people who have already experienced trauma facing additional suffering as a result of Brexit. Consideration should therefore be given to establishing interim arrangements for refugee family reunion, even if other aspects of future UK-EU asylum cooperation prove more difficult or time consuming to negotiate.
165.We note the Government’s firm opposition to participating in any kind of responsibility sharing measures relating to asylum seekers, voluntary or mandatory. In the absence of any agreement on this issue at EU level, it is difficult to judge whether this will be an important factor in future UK-EU asylum cooperation. Nevertheless, if responsibility sharing does become an established feature of EU asylum policy, and if it is framed in a voluntary and non-binding way, we believe that it would be in the UK’s interest to participate in such measures.
166.In so doing, the UK would demonstrate solidarity, good will, and a willingness to play its part in managing migration flows across the continent. This in turn would help the UK to achieve its objective of securing an agreement to return asylum seekers to their first point of entry to the EU.
167.The UK Government must make every effort to preserve the existing cooperation on border and asylum issues that takes place on a bilateral basis with individual EU Member States, notably France and Belgium.
168.We see little scope for extending the UK-France relationship beyond what is already set out in the Le Touquet and Sandhurst agreements, although we recommend that the latter should be amended to preserve enhanced cooperation on family reunion if and when the UK leaves the Dublin System. The UK and France should also give priority to humanitarian protection for asylum seekers, in addition to security measures.
169.We also urge the Government to seek to further develop its bilateral border cooperation with Belgium, especially in light of the increasing numbers of asylum seekers in Belgian ports and coastal areas. This cooperation should include a reasonable and proportionate financial contribution from the UK to the cost of Belgian border controls, including efforts by the Belgian police and border authorities to intercept so-called ‘transmigrants’ seeking to travel to the UK.
170.Bilateral relationships are important in managing migration flows, but they cannot replicate the level of cooperation the Government has said it would like to maintain with the EU after Brexit. Any new bilateral arrangements between the UK and individual Member States should augment—not seek to provide an alternative to—a wider UK-EU agreement on future asylum cooperation.
113 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), (Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor)
114 (Eleanor Harrison)
115 (Alice Lucas)
116 Written evidence from Refugee Rights Europe ()
117 Written evidence from the British Red Cross () and the Refugee Council ()
118 (Colin Yeo) and HM Government, The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, p 70 (12 July 2018): [accessed 9 August 2019]
119 HM Government, Political Declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, (25 November 2018): [accessed 9 August 2019].
120 Home Office, The UK’s future skills-based immigration system (19 December 2018) p 78: [accessed 9 August 2019]
121 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), (Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor)
122 We considered the possibility of basing the future UK-EU relationship on an association agreement in Chapter 4 of our report: European Union Committee, (17th Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 149)
123 Written evidence from Professor Bernard Ryan & Alan Desmond (). As examples, Prof Ryan and Alan Desmond noted that Article 16 of the 2014 EU association agreement with Ukraine envisaged “cooperation on migration, asylum and border management”, and provided that cooperation should focus inter alia on “establishing a comprehensive dialogue on asylum issues and in particular on matters relating to the practical implementation of the UN Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees of 1967 and other relevant international instruments, as well as ensuring the respect of the principle of ‘non-refoulement’”. They noted similar provisions were included in the EU’s association agreements with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
124 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), (Dr Natascha Zaun)
125 Written evidence from Professor Bernard Ryan & Alan Desmond ()
126 See Appendix 4 to this report, in particular, notes from the meetings with the Ministry of Justice and Heidi Nordby Lunde MP.
127 Written evidence from the Refugee Council ()
128 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), (Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor)
129 Written evidence from Professor Bernard Ryan & Alan Desmond ()
130 Written evidence from Refugee Rights Europe ()
131 Written evidence from the British Red Cross ()
132 Written evidence from the European Children’s Rights Unit and Liverpool Law Clinic ()
133 Written evidence from Safe Passage ( and )
134 (Eleanor Harrison)
135 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), and (Dr Natascha Zaun)
136 (Colin Yeo)
137 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), (Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor)
We discuss the feasibility of the UK maintaining access to EU justice and home affairs databases (and related data protection implications) in our previous reports European Union Committee, (7th Report, Session 2016–17, HL Paper 77) and (18th Report, Session 2017–19, HL Paper 164)
138 Written evidence from Refugee Rights Europe ()
139 Written evidence from Public Health England ()
140 See for example (Lord Dubs), (Alice Lucas) and written evidence from Refugee Rights Europe ().
141 (Jon Featonby)
142 (Dr Hanne Beirens)
143 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), and (Dr Natascha Zaun)
144 (Professor Elspeth Guild)
145 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), (Dr Natascha Zaun)
146 Written evidence from the European Children’s Rights Unit and Liverpool Law Clinic ()
147 Written evidence from the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association ()
148 (Colin Yeo, Professor Elspeth Guild)
149 Written evidence from the Refugee Council ()
150 (Alice Lucas)
151 Written evidence from Refugee Rights Europe ()
152 (Dr Hanne Beirens)
153 (Jan Bayart). Mr Bayart told us that there were 7,000 interceptions in 2018 in the coastal province of western Flanders alone, which was an increase on 2016 and 2017 when Belgium first saw a surge in interceptions. In 2019, there have been an average 445 interceptions per month; even more than in the same months of 2018.
154 Oral evidence taken on 6 February 2019 (Session 2017–19), (Dr Natascha Zaun)
155 (Professor Elspeth Guild)
156 (Colin Yeo)
157 Letter dated 10 September 2019 from Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP to Lord Jay of Ewelme (see Appendix 7)