The EU is reforming its management of refugees and asylum

The timing is involuntary but resonates in French news. As a Syrian with refugee status in Sweden attacked children in a park in Annecy on Thursday morning, sparking far-right criticism of migration policy, Sweden’s EU presidency announced on Thursday evening an agreement on an asylum reform. At the start of the evening, Italy and Greece still shared resistance.

The reform provides for a system of solidarity between Member States in the care of refugees, and an accelerated examination of the asylum applications of certain migrants at the borders, in order to return them more easily to their country of origin or transit. This green light paves the way for talks with the European Parliament, with a view to adopting the reform before the European elections in June 2024. “These are not easy decisions for everyone around the table, but these are historic decisions,” welcomed German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

Italy “will not be the reception center for migrants”

Poland and Hungary voted against these proposals, while Bulgaria, Malta, Lithuania and Slovakia abstained, we learned from the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU, which led the long and complex negotiations. A little earlier, a dozen member states, including Italy and Greece, had expressed their opposition or their reservations about the proposals on the table. A new compromise text was then drawn up, in order to rally as many people as possible, and in particular the Mediterranean countries, which are the countries through which migrants arrive in the EU.

Italian Minister Matteo Piantedosi showed his satisfaction at having seen “all his proposals” accepted. “We ruled out the hypothesis that Italy and all member states of first entry would be paid to keep irregular migrants on their territory. Italy will not be the reception center for migrants on behalf of Europe,” he said in a statement.

20,000 euros per asylum seeker

One of the texts approved by the ministers provides for compulsory but “flexible” solidarity within the EU in the care of asylum seekers. Member States would be required to welcome a certain number of these applicants arriving in an EU country subject to migratory pressure, or failing that to make a financial contribution. The planned financial compensation is around 20,000 euros for each asylum seeker who is not relocated. These sums would be paid into a fund managed by the Commission and intended to finance projects linked to the management of migration.

The other text endorsed by the ministers obliges the Member States to implement an accelerated procedure for examining asylum applications (12 weeks maximum), in centers located at the borders, for migrants who have statistically the least chance to be granted refugee status. This is the case, for example, of nationals “of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Bangladesh and Pakistan”, commented the Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration. , Nicole deMoor.

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