EU to set out implementation of new asylum rules

AFP , Wednesday 12 Jun 2024

The EU's member countries in the coming months are to prepare plans on how they will implement overhauled rules for asylum-seekers to be operational in mid-2026, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

Migration EU
European Commission vice-president Protecting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas speaks during a press conference on the Common Implementation Plan for the Pact on Migration and Asylum, at the EU commission in Brussels. AFP


"Thousands and thousands of pages" of complex regulatory texts will need to be drafted, commission vice president Margaritis Schinas said, calling it a "Herculean" task.

The documents flow from a legislative package the European Union adopted last month that sealed nearly a decade of contentious negotiations to reform the bloc's asylum and migration laws.

The new pact will come into force in June 2026, Schinas told journalists as he presented a blueprint for the work to come to get it in place.

EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson called it a "truly historic moment" that would boost the bloc's border protection and solidarity between member countries.

Under the pact, the bloc's asylum regulations would become tougher for irregular migrants, who would face sped-up vetting procedures, with accelerated deportations for those found ineligible to claim asylum.

New border centres would be created to hold migrants while their asylum requests are constituted and studied.

The new rules also require EU countries to take in thousands of asylum-seekers from "frontline" states such as Italy and Greece -- or provide money or other resources to the under-pressure nations instead.

The commission blueprint for the work ahead will be presented to EU interior ministers at a Luxembourg meeting on Thursday. Plans drawn up by the member states are to be submitted to the commission by December 12.

The EU will provide 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) to help member countries get the pact's measures implemented, Johansson said. Several countries have already begun work on them, she said.

More than half of the EU's 27 member countries do not believe the pact goes far enough.

Fifteen of them, including Italy, Greece, Denmark and the Czech Republic, wrote a letter to the commission last month calling for "new solutions" to send irregular migrants to countries outside the bloc.

Schinas noted, however, that the sort of deal Britain had done with Rwanda to take in asylum-seekers would not work under EU law and the pact's provisions.

But he defended partnerships the EU has struck with some countries such as Tunisia and Egypt that include requirements that they curb the departure of migrants from their territory towards Europe in return for EU funds.

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