The amended agreement on asylum.. Learn about the most important points of agreement and disagreement between Europeans


Member states and the European Parliament will soon begin negotiations that are expected to be thorny on reforming the asylum system in the European Union, after a hard-won agreement was reached on Thursday evening between its interior ministers in Luxembourg.

This is a presentation of the main points of this agreement, which will be the subject of talks with the aim of adopting reform before the European elections scheduled for 2024.

border procedures

The agreement obliges member states to establish centers at the external borders of the European Union (at the land borders and at airports in particular) for migrants who have little chance of obtaining asylum. or transit country.

The procedure – the examination of the file and the referral – should last a maximum of 6 months.

For its part, the European Parliament considers that this measure is not mandatory.

Who is involved in the agreement?

Measures at the external borders will apply to migrants from countries in the European Union whose national recognition rate as refugees is less than 20%, for example, for nationals of Turkey, India, Tunisia, Serbia or Albania.

The majority of asylum seekers coming from, for example, Syria, Afghanistan or Sudan, are entitled to pass through the normal procedure.

In 2022, about 966,000 asylum applications were submitted in the European Union.

Berlin Struggles To Accommodate New Refugees
A shelter for Ukrainian refugees in the German capital, Berlin (Getty Images)

According to the agreement reached between the member states, 30,000 places should be made available throughout the European Union under this measure, eventually to accommodate up to 120,000 migrants per year, and places of this type are already available in a number of countries.

For its part, the charity Oxfam denounced “the European Union’s desire to detain asylum seekers – especially children – in what looks like prisons on Europe’s borders.”

But the European Commission stresses that the fast-track procedure is “more humane” to avoid migrants remaining in situations of uncertainty for long periods.

What about children?

Unaccompanied minors will not be affected by the border measures except in special cases.

On the other hand, Germany did not succeed in imposing an exception for families with children, and this will be a point of discussion with Parliament, and it proposes that families with children under the age of 12 follow the usual procedures.

Controversial “safe” third countries

Italy, Greece, and Austria wanted to return migrants whose asylum claim was deemed unacceptable to third countries they considered “safe” such as Tunisia or Albania, even in the absence of special ties (family, work relationship, etc.) between the immigrant and that country.

This idea was opposed by Germany and France, and the compromise reached stipulates that it is left to each member state to assess whether simply transiting through a country constitutes sufficient grounds for returning a migrant.

Member states have so far failed to agree on a common list of “safe” third countries.

A view shows a welcome sign at the accommodation center for refugees from Ukraine at the former Tegel airport in Berlin
A sign welcoming Ukrainian refugees at Berlin Airport (Reuters)

Redistribution and financial compensation

The proposal, approved by the 27 countries, enshrines mandatory and flexible solidarity among member states in the care of asylum seekers.

Each member state will be required to receive a certain number of asylum seekers arriving in an EU country subject to migration pressure (relative to its population and per capita GDP) or to make a financial contribution to it.

The agreement provides for at least 30,000 resettlement operations per year for asylum seekers from countries under pressure to move to other EU countries.

As for the financial compensation offered, it is 20,000 euros for each asylum seeker who has not been transferred to a second European country.

These amounts will be placed in a fund administered by the Commission, which aims to finance projects related to migration management.

Who opposes reform?

Poland and Hungary – which refused to take quotas from asylum seekers during the 2015 crisis – voted against the agreement on Thursday evening, and Hungarian nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban considered it “unacceptable”.

For their part, the Greens and the Left (radical left) bloc in the European Parliament accused member states of having “surrendered to the far right”.


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The amended agreement on asylum.. Learn about the most important points of agreement and disagreement between Europeans

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