EAMDS

The European-Arab Monitor for Development Studies

The new pact on migration: a progress or a regress?

 The new pact on migration: a progress or a regress?

Foto di Bernhard Stärck da Pixabay

The Commission welcomed the result of the European Parliament’s vote, endorsing the political agreement on the Pact on Migration and Asylum. It also explains that a key element of the Pact is that Member States facing sudden migratory pressure will not be left on their own. Countries under pressure will be able to request support from the EU and other Member States, that will contribute through migrant relocations, transfers, financial contributions, or deployment of support staff. The Pact will provide increased efficiency in procedures: from more efficient border management with screening people arriving irregularly, to streamlined processing of asylum applications. This will be supported by effective return and border procedures: upon a negative asylum decision, those with no legal right to stay will be issued an immediate return decision.

Inherent in the Pact are several safeguards to protect the fundamental rights of migrants, thanks to standardised asylum procedures, screening procedures, vulnerability checks, and independent monitoring mechanisms. Safeguards for the most vulnerable, in particular families with children, are taken into account, as the rights and best interest of children must always be prioritised. For instance, they may be subject to the border procedure, only if the necessary conditions for such vulnerable categories can be applied.

The Commission has also taken operational measures to support Member States immediately. Four action plans focused on specific migratory routes, and a 10-point plan for Lampedusa have put in place concrete measures including financial support to Member States, border management, and combatting migrant smuggling.

The press review of EU news media reflects, however, different and sometimes conflicting opinions. While the French newspapers La Croix points the finger “This is not progess“, the Greek newspaper Avgi confirms that Greece has won nothing with this deal, and the Spanish El Pais agrees with the Italian newspaper la Repubblica that the Pact doesn’t solve any problem, on the contrary it adds more complications.

The more severe criticism comes from Refugees Welcome Italia who wrote to its stakeholders that when the European Parliament approved the new Pact on Migration and Asylum It was not a “historic moment”, as the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said, but one of the most shameful pages in the history of the EU.

In its newsletter, the association explains that the new legislation cancels the right to asylum as we have known it up to now. The model applied in the Greek islands is institutionalized: thousands of people, including families with minors, will be detained at Europe’s borders, while their asylum applications will be examined hastily and with fewer guarantees, due to the generalized use of the procedure accelerated. Refoulements towards third countries that cannot be considered safe will increase.

The Dublin regulation remains unchanged in the most controversial points, the novelty is a form of flexible solidarity that will allow states to pay to avoid welcoming migrants and asylum seekers. The countries of first entry, including Italy, risk becoming large detention centers.

We would have liked a European policy capable of promoting solidarity between member states and towards those seeking protection and a better life.

Fortress Europe won again.

Read the Key Achievements of the Pact – April 2024

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