A deal is reached in the EU for asylum seekers

2023-06-09 08:10:00, Kosova & Bota CNA

A deal is reached in the EU for asylum seekers

Throughout the day on Thursday (07.06.2023) the 27 interior ministers of the EU countries discussed in Luxembourg to achieve the approval of the extended reform of the asylum procedure that has been prepared for years and for controlled migration. "There is light at the end of the tunnel," said one delegate during talks that lasted about 12 hours. The Swedish President of the Council, Maria Malmer Stenergard, interrupted the meeting three times, and after the refusal of the delegations, the text of the agreement was changed several times.

Eventually the biggest EU states like Germany and Italy agreed, but not the smaller countries. The decision was ultimately taken by a qualified majority from countries representing 65 percent of the EU's population, rather than unanimously. Poland and Hungary voted against, which continue to reject the rules of a common migration policy in the EU.

Accept asylum seekers or pay

The national-conservative Interior Minister of Poland, Mariusz Kaminski, e.g. declared that Poland will not pay compensation to an EU fund for rejected asylum seekers. This compensation, 20,000 euros per asylum seeker, is necessary according to the new rules of solidarity, in case a country does not accept as many asylum seekers as it should be affordable based on the number of its population.

Migration expert Helena Hahn from the Think Tank "European Policy Centre" expresses doubt, if this new system will succeed: "We saw in the end, that the agreement meets the resistance of some member countries like Poland. These countries say, that the costs are very high. So it is expected that there will be more opposition to the agreement."

Fewer chances of admission quotas below 20 percent

Despite massive opposition to "compulsory solidarity" with overburdened countries like Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Malta, Germany's foreign minister, Nancy Faeser, considers the decision in Luxembourg a "historic" decision, which was not easy for anyone. The minister admitted that in the ranks of the governing coalition in Germany, made up of social democrats, ecologists and liberal democrats, accelerated asylum procedures at the external borders of the EU are controversial.

With this accelerated procedure, within 12 weeks at most, those seeking asylum must be verified and if they do not have convincing arguments for their application, because they come from a safe country, they will be returned immediately. This affects those who come from countries, to which the acceptance quota at the EU level is below 12 percent, specifically this concerns asylum seekers who come from Pakistan, Albania and from some other African countries.

The rules approved now by the Council of Ministers will be approved by the EU Parliament by the end of this year. If the further legal procedure passes without obstacles and is approved by parliamentarians before the spring EU elections in June, then the rules come into force as early as next year./ DW

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