The reform provides for a system of solidarity between Member States in the care of refugees and an accelerated examination of the asylum applications of certain migrants at the borders. This green light paves the way for talks with the European Parliament, with a view to adopting the reform before the European elections in June 2024.
“These are not easy decisions for everyone around the table, but they are historic decisions,” said German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson welcomed a “very important step” for the Asylum and Migration Pact, presented in September 2020. European Parliament President Roberta Metsola hailed a “breakthrough”, emphasizing that his institution was ready to begin talks.
Poland and Hungary “against”
Poland and Hungary voted against these proposals, while Bulgaria, Malta, Lithuania and Slovakia abstained. A little earlier, a dozen member states, including Italy and Greece, had expressed their opposition or their reservations about the proposals on the table. A new compromise text then had to be drawn up, in order to satisfy as many people as possible, and in particular the Mediterranean countries, which are those through which migrants enter the EU.
Italy demanded that migrants who have had their right to asylum rejected can be sent back to “safe” countries through which they have transited, even if there is no particular link between the migrant and this country. An idea that met with hostility from Germany.
On a visit to Rome where he met the Italian head of government Giorgia Meloni, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed Thursday that EU countries must take up the migration challenge “together” and not “leave alone” the Mediterranean countries.
The issue of reforming the asylum system has returned to the top of the agenda, with an increase in the arrival of migrants in the Union since the end of the pandemic and while some four million Ukrainians have taken refuge in the EU. The trend is towards an increasingly restrictive migration policy, in a context where the far right has recently garnered electoral success in several member countries.
Financial compensation provided
One of the texts approved by the ministers provides for compulsory, but “flexible” solidarity within the EU in the care of asylum seekers. Member States would be required to welcome a certain number of these applicants arriving in an EU country subject to migratory pressure, or failing that to make a financial contribution to this country. The financial compensation would be around 20,000 euros for each asylum seeker not relocated.
An attempt to find a balance between the Mediterranean countries of first arrival, which would like automatic relocations to other countries, and those like Hungary or Poland which refuse to have asylum seekers imposed on them.
The other text endorsed by the ministers obliges the Member States to implement an accelerated examination procedure, in centers located at the borders, for asylum applications with the least statistical chance of resulting in refugee status. Objective: to facilitate the return of these migrants to their country of origin or transit. The German minister had demanded that “families with young children should not be subject to the border procedure”.
“All this is not perfect, but it is by making this compromise that we will be able to be more effective and above all to bring the European Union to life”, declared Gérald Darmanin before leaving the meeting.
Source: Le Progrès : info et actu nationale et régionale – Rhône, Loire, Ain, Haute-Loire et Jura | Le Progrès by www.leprogres.fr.
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