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Eurocrat says migrants at eastern border should apply for asylum in Belarus or 'go home' 

The EU unveiled a new immigration plan dubbed ‘Fortress Europe’ yesterday – with one eurocrat saying asylum seekers on the bloc’s eastern border should ‘go home’ if they do not want to be settled nearby.

EU officials struggled to stem the flow of thousands entering from Belarus last month before neighbouring Poland put up a makeshift border wall.

Yesterday European leaders bowed to pressure from their eastern edge, with plans that would allow Poland, Lithuania and Latvia to weaken migrants’ rights and detain refugees for longer. 

The EU unveiled a new immigration plan dubbed ‘Fortress Europe’ yesterday – with one eurocrat saying asylum seekers on the bloc’s eastern border should ‘go home’ if they do not want to be settled nearby

They will have up to four months to process asylum claims, up from four weeks now.

It is hoped the prospect of an extended detention will act as a deterrent to those looking to get into Europe, after hardline Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko drew migrants from the Middle East and pointed them towards Europe as part of his long-running row with Brussels.

In a blunt intervention last night, Margaritis Schinas, a European Commission vice-president and the EU’s migration chief, said: ‘If a migrant doesn’t want to apply for asylum in one of those three countries, they must apply in Belarus. If he doesn’t apply in Belarus either, he should go home.’

The proposals will mean migrants can only seek humanitarian protection in designated areas near the EU’s frontier with the former Soviet republic.

EU officials struggled to stem the flow of thousands entering from Belarus last month before neighbouring Poland put up a makeshift border wall. Pictured: Margaritis Schinas

Officials also want to make it easier to kick out rejected claimants by creating ‘simplified and quicker national procedures for the return of people’.

The emergency rules, which would be in force for six months, must first be approved by the 27 EU governments.

Amnesty International accused the EU of undermining refugee rights and the ‘dehumanisation’ of migrants.

Junior Home Office minister Tom Pursglove last night ruled out opening a British asylum processing centre in France, warning it would attract more migrants.