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Towards a More Effective and Humane European Migration and Asylum Policy 

On 29 and 30 June, the European Council will gather over the course of a two-day summit in Brussels where it will, among other agenda points, receive a presentation from the Swedish Presidency of the Council and the European Commission on the progress in implementing recent conclusions on migration. This comes in a context of several recent tragedies at sea as well the influx of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. 

EU’s institutions have been working on numerous legislative texts to establish a more effective European migration and asylum policy and ensure a better management of mass population flows, starting from the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum presented on 23 September 2020.  However, the pace of the process has been slow. During a plenary session on 20 April 2023, the European Parliament agreed to start talks with EU Member States on several migration and asylum policy files: the screening of third-country nationals; the asylum and migration management; the crisis situation; and the long-term resident directive. On 9 June 2023, the Council of the European Union reached an agreement on only two out of the eight key proposals during the meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council – namely the asylum and migration management regulation (AMMR) and the asylum procedure regulation (APR). Trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission will now start, hoping to reach an agreement by spring 2024 ahead of the European elections. 

In the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU also activated the Temporary Protection Directive, an emergency mechanism to relieve pressure on national asylum systems and provide collective protection to displaced persons who cannot return to their country of origin. This mechanism has been extended until 4 March 2024 and could be renewed for an additional year, depending on how the situation in Ukraine evolves. 

Key texts
European Commission: New Pact on Migration and Asylum of the EU
European Parliament: Report on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on asylum and migration management
European Council: Conclusion of the February 2023 Meeting

Upcoming events
29-30 June 2023: European Council meeting
28-29 June 2023: LIBE committee

European Movement International’s Position
At a time when more people will seek safety out of their country due to environmental reasons as well as economic and war-related ones, we are calling in our new policy position on migration and asylum policy for a comprehensive and harmonised approach to migration and asylum in the EU and for a revision and implementation of the European Commission’s 2020 Pact on Migration and Asylum by the end of the legislative mandate in 2024. The core of any policy should be that refugees and asylum seekers are, first and foremost, human beings and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  

The EU needs to discourage secondary movements, establish automatic relocation mechanisms and ensure a fairer distribution of responsibilities across the EU. To achieve this, it is crucial to amend and reformulate the Dublin Regulation, which currently holds Member States responsible for migrants arriving at their borders. This outdated approach has created a stalemate in the reform process and is causing disharmony within the EU. Instead, a phased-out approach should be adopted, emphasising fair responsibility-sharing among Member States based on their capacity to integrate migrants and refugees.

Moreover, to address the exploitation by human traffickers who push people through dangerous routes, the EU should prioritise the establishment of safe and legal pathways for migration and should coordinate rescue missions at sea and put an end to the criminalisation of civilian sea rescue missions. We need to ensure that Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, operates within the framework of EU values and human rights with strengthened accountability and that its work is duly scrutinised.  





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