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EU reaches breakthrough deal on migration policy reform

October 4, 2023 at 2:27 pm

EU Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas in Brussels, Belgium on September 28, 2023 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

EU member states have reached a breakthrough deal on reforming the bloc’s migration and asylum policy, the Spanish EU presidency announced on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

EU Ambassadors have reached an agreement on the regulation addressing situations of crisis and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum

the Spanish government, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, announced on X.

The agreement is considered a breakthrough towards reforming EU asylum and migration policy, as EU member states have been strongly divided over how to handle crisis situations when an EU country comes under heavy migratory pressure upon the arrival of a large number of unexpected asylum seekers.

Details of the deal have yet to be announced.

Earlier on Wednesday, Margaritis Schinas, EU Commission vice-President in charge of the migration and asylum pact, warned that the bloc is “running out of time” to reform the migration policy, and called on EU members and lawmakers to green light the new EU migration and asylum pact.

The European Commission proposed the so-called New Pact on Migration and Asylum in 2020 to break the legislative deadlock that the bloc had been struggling with since 2016, since after it reached a migration deal with Turkiye.

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The legislative package, among other measures, would set up a common EU border procedure with a fast check to see if migrants are eligible for international protection before entering the bloc, and speed up return procedures for those whose claim is refused.

It would also impose mandatory solidarity, obliging EU member states to take over asylum seekers if a fellow EU country comes under heavy migratory pressure.

The pact also focuses on setting up partnerships with countries of origin and transit.

Calling the deal “the final component of a common European asylum and migration policy,” the Council of the EU said in a statement that the new legislation would allow EU countries to “apply specific rules concerning the asylum and the return procedure” in a situation of crisis or force majeure.

Among others, the countries could speed up and finish the registration procedure of asylum-seekers within four weeks to ease the administrative burden.

As the most controversial part of the legislation, EU states in crisis can also “request solidarity contributions from other EU countries”, including financial support, relocation of asylum seekers or taking over the procedures.

The deal will set the base for the representatives of the Council of the EU while it negotiates the final legislation with the European Parliament and the European Commission.

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