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European Union migration policy: Member states have finally reached an agreement

After many years of disputes, reproaches, two nights and two days of discussions, members of the European Parliament and representatives of member state governments reached an agreement on EU migration policy this Wednesday morning. These new rules should more fairly distribute the costs and work associated with receiving migrants and limit the number of people arriving.

A new pact on migration and asylum is due to come into force next year. The goal is the final adoption of all texts before the European elections in June, while the issue of immigration monopolizes political debate in many countries, as evidenced in particular by French news. , but also in Germany and Sweden.

The Pact covers the care and control of migrants arriving without title in the European Union, procedures for processing asylum applications, rules for determining which EU country is responsible for processing applications, and how to manage crises.

For years, even as migrant arrivals to the European Union as a whole have been declining, Greece and Italy, geographically bordering countries with the EU, have called for shared responsibility for people arriving on their soil, something eastern EU countries have refused to do. The current rule that the first country seeking asylum to enter the EU is responsible for its case remains, but under the new system non-border countries will have a choice between accepting refugees or contributing to a European fund.

Rome and Athens breathe a sigh of relief, NGOs are worried

Filtering will be carried out upon arrival in the European zone between citizens of endangered countries and people who have little chance of success in their asylum request. Citizens whose refugee status recognition rate on average in the EU is less than 20% will be excluded. For example, India, Tunisia or Türkiye. These citizens could be banned from entering the EU and detained at the border in closed centres, just like people deemed to pose a security risk. Even families with children under 12 years old can join these centers.

Germany welcomed the agreement reached this morning. “The creation of a new pan-European asylum system was urgent and long overdue (…) For the first time, EU member states must now show solidarity,” Foreigners Minister Annalena Bärbock said in a press release. The agreement represents “a balanced solution that no longer leaves countries bordering the EU particularly exposed to migration pressure and feeling alone,” welcomed Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, while Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told the Council of Ministers his “ satisfaction” that an “important European response to the enormous national effort to implement a strict but fair immigration policy” had been found.

Text “worse than the current situation”, blame NGOs

Before the review, the reform drew sharp criticism from human rights organizations. Some fifty NGOs, including Amnesty International, Oxfam, Caritas and Save the Children, wrote an open letter to negotiators on Monday, warning them of the risk that the migration pact would create a “poorly designed, costly and cruel system”. In a video message about the wonderful values ​​of Europe.”

“We are coming out with a text that is worse than the current situation (…) We are going to finance walls, barbed wire, defense systems throughout Europe,” he criticizes.

The EU is currently experiencing an increase in the number of illegal arrivals as well as in the number of asylum applications. In the first eleven months of 2023, Frontex recorded more than 355,000 crossings of EU external borders, an increase of 17%. According to the EU Asylum Agency (EUAA), the number of asylum applications could exceed one million by the end of 2023. The 2015 figure of an influx of a million people to Europe’s gates in the few months since has not been reached.

Source: Le Parisien

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