EU Changes Pace on Migration and Asylum Policy

May 16, 2024 Hour: 7:22 am

After eight years of debate, the European Union (EU) approved a new Pact on Migration and Asylum that overhauls the entire framework for managing asylum and migration.


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The package aims at reducing the burden of member states on the EU’s external borders, and would include tougher checks on asylum requests. It is also expected to change the way EU countries share responsibility for asylum seekers.

The Pact was backed by a majority of EU countries but Poland and Hungary voted against it while the Czech Republic and Slovakia chose to abstain in the majority of files.


The reform comes at a sensitive time, with European elections scheduled in early June and immigration expected to be a top issue in the political debate.

“One thing is surely changing with the new Pact: the EU has decided to signal that it will get tougher on asylum seekers,” said Matteo Villa, senior research fellow with the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI).

“The clear message is that asylum is going to be assessed with increasing strictness, whether because requests will be screened more quickly or because more external countries will be considered ‘safe’ for repatriating those not deemed as entitled to protection,” he explained.


The new Pact, made of 10 legislative acts, is expected to enter into force by 2026. Under the new rules, asylum seekers will have to be identified within a few days of arrival in one of the EU member states.

Their personal data will be stored in an EU database, with the goal of building a common framework of information to judge whether an individual poses a threat or should be allowed to stay.

In case an asylum claim is rejected, the Pact would allow a faster repatriation of people to their country of origin, or country of transit, if those countries are declared ‘safe’ by the EU.

Finally, the Pact introduces a new mandatory solidarity mechanism to share responsibility during emergencies.

EU governments will have three different options: relocate some asylum seekers to other EU states, pay 20,000 euros for each person they reject, or provide other measures (such as supporting operational activities at EU external borders). The initial target for relocation is up to 30,000 people at the EU level per year.


Humanitarian groups voiced concerns the Pact will violate asylum seekers’ rights, and that the EU will end up dealing with external countries that are not truly safe, just to find a way to repatriate people.

Experts also noted the Pact would be far from a comprehensive overhaul. “Too many aspects remain unclear to call it a full reform,” Villa said.

On paper, first-arrival countries, such as Italy, receive asylum allowances to redistribute migrants in emergencies, the analyst noted. Yet, the relocation mechanism is currently limited to a maximum of 30,000 people per year. Only last year, asylum requests at the EU level exceeded 1 million, according to EU data.

“Several countries were against relocation, and alternative measures were provided, such as paying in order not to receive asylum seekers, but even this is not certain, because Poland and Hungary have already said no… the possibility of a real change seems limited,” Villa explained.

Autor: teleSUR/ JF

Fuente: Xinhua

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