EU member states have failed to come to an agreement on a key aspect of the new migration and asylum pact this week. This means that the migration reforms planned by the EU Commission will now be delayed.
Representatives for the 27 countries of the European Union failed to find common ground on a key part of the planned EU migration pact at a meeting on Wednesday (July 26) concerning rules for migration and asylum specifically in crisis situations.
The Spanish EU presidency had suggested a compromise which failed to gain support from several countries. Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria said that they were against the proposal. Germany, Slovakia, and the Netherlands said they would abstain after expressing concerns that the standard for granting asylum might be lowered by the regulation. Other countries, Italy included, meanwhile were in support of the proposal from Spain.
The planned EU reforms on migration and asylum will now not be discussed again in the European Parliament until after the summer break — or later.
Disagreement on crisis rules
The two main points of contention between the EU countries dealt with crisis situations resulting in a migration spike. There was disagreement on the extent to which countries should be allowed to break with normal asylum procedures in crisis situations, and also what exactly would amount to a crisis situation.
The proposal by Spain included rules that allowed countries to keep asylum seekers in centers at the border for longer and to lower accommodation standards during a crisis, according to news agency dpa.
Germany reportedly was a key opponent of this proposal, expressing concern that allowing for standards for asylum seekers to be lowered during crises could result in human rights issues; Poland and Hungary meanwhile saw the restrictions tabled by Spain as going not far enough in crisis scenarios.
There was also disagreement on whether returns of asylum seekers to the first EU country where they had entered the bloc should be suspended amid such crises (known as the Dublin regulation).
According to news site Politico, the greatest division on this issue was between southern EU frontline states and northern member countries.
The EU countries reportedly also failed to agree on whether a country should be considered to be in a crisis when migrants and refugees are being brought across its border with the help of other states or non-state actors.
Several eastern EU countries had pushed for the inclusion of this, citing migration from Belarus, which many EU leaders allege are orchestrated by autocrat Alexander Lukashenko in a move to weaken the bloc.
Source: Info Migrants