The European Parliament and member states begin a day of intense negotiations on Thursday in order to obtain a breakthrough before the end of December on the difficult reform of migration policy in the EU.
The stated objective is to achieve final adoption next spring, before the European elections, of this “Pact on Migration and Asylum” presented by the European Commission in September 2020.
The EU has seen an increase in irregular arrivals in recent years: nearly 269,000 have been recorded since the start of the year according to the IOM, the highest figure since 2016.
Here are the four major aspects of this reform currently under discussion:
A new regulation must replace the current “Dublin” system which determines which Member State must examine an asylum application. The rule according to which the first country of entry into the EU of an asylum seeker is responsible for his file, however, remains the principle.
Sudanese migrants near a Doctors Without Borders reception center, November 7, 2023 in Calais, northern France / Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP/Archives
But to help Mediterranean countries, where many migrants arrive, a compulsory solidarity mechanism is planned. European countries will have to each year, within the framework of a “solidarity reserve”, welcome a certain number of asylum seekers (“relocations”) or, failing that, make a financial contribution, material or human support measures to the countries. under pressure.
The European Parliament insists on giving priority to relocations, by making them almost automatic in the case of rescues at sea, an important point for Italy but which arouses reluctance from other member states.
The Council (Member States) has forecast a figure of 30,000 relocations per year, and set the sum to be paid by a State at 20,000 euros for each “non-relocated” migrant.
A crisis response
The regulation on crisis and force majeure situations is intended to organize a response in the event of a massive influx of migrants into an EU state, such as during the refugee crisis of 2015-2016.
Migrants who survived the sinking of their boat arrive at the port of Kalamata, Greece, June 14, 2023 / STRINGER / Eurokinissi/AFP/Archives
It again provides for compulsory solidarity between member states and the establishment of an exceptional regime that is less protective for asylum seekers than the usual procedures, with a possible extension of the duration of detention at the bloc’s external borders.
The Council wants cases of “instrumentalization” to fall within the framework of this crisis regulation. These are cases where a third country, such as recently Russia or previously Belarus, organizes the passage of migrants from its territory to the European Union for destabilization purposes.
Filtering of migrants
The filtering regulation provides for subjecting migrants to identity, health and security checks at the EU’s external borders in order to quickly determine the procedure applicable to them: asylum procedure –classic or accelerated–, or return to the country of origin or transit.
An accelerated asylum procedure
This procedure would apply to asylum seekers with the least chance of obtaining a positive response: those who come from countries for which the rate of granting a form of protection, on average in the EU, is less than 20%.
An accommodation center for asylum seekers in Eisenhuttenstadt, September 28, 2023 in Germany / Odd ANDERSEN / AFP/Archives
Their applications would be subject to accelerated examination in centers not far from the EU’s external borders (at land borders, or at airports, in particular), in order to facilitate their return. The persons concerned could be detained or subjected to alternative measures (house arrest for example).
The European Parliament, which initially wanted this procedure not to be obligatory – unlike the Member States -, is ready for a compromise but calls for safeguards in terms of respect for fundamental rights.
MEPs particularly ask that families with children go through the traditional asylum procedure. Disagreements between negotiators also concern the maximum duration of this procedure, as well as the concept of a safe third country to which a migrant could be returned.