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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
EU presents new rules on asylum
EU Commissioner for Justice, Franco Frattini
The UK might not adopt Mr Frattini's package
The European Commission has proposed new EU-wide rules to establish common standards on illegal immigrants and failed asylum-seekers.

Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said the aim was to have a uniformly transparent repatriation policy.

The UK Home Office has said the new rules will "only affect the UK if we opt in". The London bombings prompted the UK to rethink deportation policy.

The EU proposals have to be approved unanimously by all 25 EU governments.

If accepted, the proposals would:

  • Limit the temporary custody of illegal immigrants to six months

  • Give a third-country national facing deportation the right to appeal

  • Prevent the return of anyone - even terror suspects - to countries where they might face torture

  • Allow individual member states to ban people, deported for security reasons, from re-entering any of the 25 EU states.

Mr Frattini said offering financial incentives could be used to try to ensure that countries did not persecute returned nationals.

He also suggested the creation of a permanent forum to discuss the challenges linked with immigration and an annual report by the Commission charting the progress made on integration.

UK Home Secretary Charles Clarke last week published the grounds on which foreigners considered to be promoting terrorism can be deported or excluded.

The Home Office is to begin proceedings to remove those who fall foul of its unacceptable behaviour list.

Following the 7 July London bombings Mr Clarke specified the "unacceptable behaviour" deemed to indirectly threaten public order, national security or the rule of law.

The grounds include provoking and glorifying terrorism, but civil liberties groups fear deportees could be tortured in their homelands.

How failed asylum seekers are slipping through the system

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