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Britain ‘not interested’ in taking back migrants from Ireland, Sunak warns

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But the Irish High Court last month ruled that the Irish government’s declaration of the UK as a “safe third country” to which it could return asylum seekers was unlawful, as a result of the Rwanda Bill. The emergency legislation proposal seeks to overturn this judgment.

Rwanda plan makes returns agreement ‘unpalatable’

EU sources told The Telegraph that the Rwanda plan has made a migrants returns agreement with Britain unpalatable for too many “progressive” European Union governments.

While the bloc’s conservative leaders see no merit in a UK-EU returns deal because it would result in “more” asylum seekers being sent from Britain to the Continent.

“The Rwanda stuff will make a deal unpalatable to a whole slew of progressive governments on the EU side,” an EU diplomat said.

“And then there’s the question of what the EU gains from a deal with the EU? A deal might only lead to more returns from the UK to the EU. That’s not going to win you any votes on the conservative, so what’s the incentive?”

The EU will hold bloc-wide elections for the European Parliament in June amid fears populist and nationalist parties will win in at least nine countries on the back of anger over mass migration and Net Zero policies.

Sources said there was also little appetite in sitting down with Britain while the EU is engulfed in its own migration crisis.

“I don’t see much interest in a UK-EU migration deal until we’ve properly sorted out our own migration mess first,” a Brussels insider said.

“Yes, we’ve agreed on the pact, but that doesn’t enter into force for another two years,” they added, referring to new border measures to halt illegal migration across the Mediterranean and through the Balkans.

The “migration pact” seeks to accelerate the processing of asylum applications as well as enables the detention of asylum seekers who have a lower chance of successful bid at the EU’s external borders.

Controversially, it also sets up a burden-sharing mechanism that will require the bloc’s 27 member states to take in their fair share of migrants landing in just a handful of countries, such as Greece and Italy.

Countries like Poland and Hungary, which have rejected resettling asylum seekers, will be forced to pay a levy to help finance the system for more willing capitals.

At a debate ahead of the EU elections, Ursula Von der Leyen, the European Commission’s president, last night rejected that her centre-right European People’s Party was pushing a Rwanda-style plan for the bloc.

The top eurocrat, who is vying for a second term in office, went as far to suggest deporting migrants to the African country was a breach of international law.

“This is the UK, and we have nothing to do with it,” she told the audience.

“The UK left the European Union. Let them discuss their issues and we discuss our issues. We have fulfilled our international obligations – and that’s very important – in the past, we fulfil them today and we will fulfil them tomorrow. This is absolutely necessary to the Geneva Convention … the European convention.”

She added: “But I also think it is in order to say that we Europeans are the ones who decide who comes to the European Union and under what circumstances, and not the smugglers and traffickers.

“Therefore, agreements with third countries, for example Tunisia or Egypt, is investing in their economy, investing in their education system to create legal, safe pathways for people to come, also for protection, but not to define for the smugglers and traffickers who comes to the European Union.”

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