Political groups split on migration deal

Martin Banks

Belgium (Brussels Morning Newspaper), The Commission says it “welcomes” the result of a key vote in the European Parliament, endorsing political agreement on the Pact on Migration and Asylum.

This comes after the European Parliament adopted the Migration and Asylum Pact.

This legislation, says the EC, puts in place clear, reliable rules with more solidarity and shared responsibility among EU member states.

The new Pact on Migration and Asylum was first presented by the EU Commission in 2020.

The Pact includes a new Asylum and Migration Management Regulation, a new Screening Regulation, a new Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation, revised rules under the Asylum Procedures Regulation, and a revised Eurodac Regulation.

Socialist MEPs says it “sets the stage for a fairer, more efficient, and more sustainable framework” to manage migration.

This achievement shows that the EU can find common European solutions to European challenges, notes Iratxe García, S&D Group leader.

The Spanish member said: “This is historic.”

She added, “Finally, after more than a decade of tough negotiations, and thanks to the unity of the S&D Group, we finally put a real European solution in place. This moves us away from ad-hoc crises responses to a permanent and sustainable procedure that governments can rely on. Populist emergency decrees are no way to deal with migration in an orderly way. Nationalist solutions are not the answer to pan-European challenges.”

“Thanks to S&Ds, for the first time, we introduce real solidarity at the centre of the European policy on migration and asylum. We pave the way to a new era.”

But Philippe Lamberts MEP, President of the Greens/EFA Group, is less impressed.

The Belgian commented,“Building a fortress Europe by throwing up fences, paying off warlords and normalising inhumane practices will not stop migration. The only responsible way to handle migration is to treat it with practical and pragmatic solutions based on solidarity and respect for fundamental rights, instead of pandering to the far-right. It’s clear that the current political class are desperate to claim that they have solved the issue of migration, regardless of the realities on the ground.

“The Pact will entrench existing problems by disproportionately focusing on deterrence, including through the widespread detention of people and children, while reducing their rights. It will shift ever more responsibility to third countries and greater financial resources to autocratic governments and warlords. The new asylum rules will outsource the responsibility for processing some asylum claims to outside the EU and will oblige Member States to apply rules that will prolong the detention of asylum applicants, including children.

“Unfortunately, the Pact will force the Member States who have already borne the brunt of the migration issue, to continue to be responsible for the reception and hosting of newly arrived people in Europe. The immense complexity of the new rules, as well the new obligation on Member States to apply a series of sub-standard procedures will inevitably lead to more financial and administrative burden for already overstretched authorities.

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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.