No quotas, but EU states should choose between relocation and sponsoring

Member States will get €10 000 from the EU budget for each admitted refugee

Photo: EU Ursula von der Leyen.

Pre-entry screening of all arrivals, fair and faster procedures, successful integration of refugees and return of those with no right to stay, foresees the new Pact on Migration and Asylum, adopted by the College of Commissioners on Wednesday, in an attempt to move from the clumsy “Dublin” rules.

The new package sets a different approach obliging each EU country, without any exception, to contribute in solidarity in times of stress, to help appease the overall system and back Member States under pressure, but also introducing a kind of “solidarity bank”.

There will be no obligatory quota to accept refugees, but ‘a fair distribution key’ will exist and the EU countries should choose between relocation and “return sponsorship”, means that a Member State takes over responsibility for returning a person with no right to stay on behalf of another EU country. The Commission named this “a new mechanism for constant solidarity” the suggested system of flexible contributions from the Member States.

The EC encourages taking in refugees by offering Member States €10 000 for each admitted and additional €10 000 for family members.

The new proposal also aims to boost a common EU system for returns, making EU migration rules more credible. More effective legal framework, a stronger role of the European Border and Coast Guard, and a newly appointed EU Return Coordinator with a network of national representatives should ensure consistency across the Union.

The package introduces clear responsibilities through modernised procedures and will bring also clarity to applicants. The rules will improve the link between asylum and return. A decision on returns should be taken in twelve weeks. Identification, health and security checks and fingerprinting and registration in the Eurodac database are the new compulsory pre-entry screening requirements. All this should take a maximum of five days.

On the picture is a new faster asylum border procedure  to speed up decision-making. Revamped migration and border management system with an improved Eurodac database will focus on applicants rather than applications to determine responsibility for asylum claims. It will deter unauthorised movements to other EU countries and facilitate relocation and better monitoring of returnees. There will be a track support for voluntary departure and reintegration.

Concerning the legal guarantees will be put in place independent monitoring mechanism to ensure respect of fundamental rights. All this will be supported by the Fundamental Rights Agency, Frontex and the new European Agency for Asylum.

Europe has to move away from ad hoc solutions and put in place a predictable and reliable migration management system and I am convinced that the Commission's proposal is a good foundation for that, underlined EC President Ursula von der Leyen in a press statement on the proposed pact.

She underlined that the EU has already proven in other areas that it can take extraordinary steps to reconcile diverging perspectives - has created a complex internal market, a common currency and an unprecedented recovery plan to rebuild our economies. It is now time to rise to the challenge to manage migration jointly, with the right balance between solidarity and responsibility, von der Leyen asserted.

On his part, Margaritis Schinas, EC Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life stressed that Moria is a stark reminder that “the clock has run out on how long we can live in a house half-built”. No one Member State experiences migration in the same way and the different and unique challenges faced by all deserve to be recognised, acknowledged and addressed, VP Schinas added. We have learnt the lessons of the past: we have withdrawn and drawn a line under the former “Dublin” system – symbolic as it was of a system that shouldered a disproportionate burden on Member States of first entry and that was not at all equipped to deal with situations of crisis, let alone with the new reality of mixed and constant migration flows on a day to day basis, he asserted.

Explaining that what the EC is proposing will build a long-term migration policy, Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, specified that this set of proposals will mean clear, fair and faster border procedures, so that people do not have to wait in limbo. She said that last year 2.4 million migrants got a residence permit in the EU and almost 700,000 new European citizenships were issued. “It means enhanced cooperation with third countries for fast returns, more legal pathways and strong actions to fight human smugglers. Fundamentally it protects the right to seek asylum”. Commissioner Johansson also stressed that “we are an aging society and we need migration”.

 The proposed legislation imposes change of paradigm in cooperation with non-EU countries, aimed at tailor-made partnerships with third countries to address shared challenges such as migrant smuggling. These compacts will help develop legal pathways and will tackle the effective implementation of readmission agreements and arrangements.


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