EU Migration Pact: A Historic Achievement in the Management of Migrant Arrivals

The European Union (EU) Migration Pact has finally been reached after years of negotiation and debate.

This agreement, considered one of the most divisive issues among the EU-27 since the refugee crisis in 2015, establishes a new architecture for managing migrant arrivals and tightens access to those who enter the EU bloc irregularly.

Pillars of the Migration Pact in the EU.

Migration pact is composed of five key regulations that address different aspects of the management of migrant arrivals. These regulations are:

  • Control and processing of migrant data: This regulation seeks to establish a framework for the control and processing of migrants’ data, ensuring the protection of their privacy and security.
  • Control of external borders: The second regulation focuses on strengthening the control of the EU’s external borders, with the aim of preventing the irregular entry of migrants and guaranteeing the security of the community block.
  • Judicial protection and necessary remedies: This regulation establishes the necessary mechanisms to ensure the judicial guardianship of migrants and their access to legal remedies and assistance.
  • Crisis management: The fourth regulation focuses on the management of crisis situations related to migrant arrivals, providing a framework for a rapid and effective response.
  • Management and care of asylum seekers: The last regulation is of vital importance as it addresses the management and care of asylum seekers. Under the current framework, this responsibility falls to countries of first entry, such as Spain, Italy and Greece. The main objective is to separate migrants seeking refuge from those arriving for economic reasons and to deter the latter from irregular travel.

Controversy over Mandatory Quotas for Asylum-Seekers

One of the most controversial issues in the EU migration pact has been the implementation of mandatory quotas for asylum seekers. Originally, it was proposed that these quotas would be unavoidable for all member states.

However, an agreement was reached to turn “compulsory solidarity” into “compulsory but flexible solidarity”. This implies that countries that refuse to take over their quota will have to make a payment of €20,000 per person to the common EU basket.

This approach is designed to relieve pressure on countries receiving large numbers of migrants, such as Italy, Spain and Greece. In addition, countries will also be able to contribute material means or take over the management of people who are already on their territory, even if they have entered elsewhere.

This flexibility seeks to address the concerns of member states and ensure an equitable sharing of responsibility.

Road Towards the EU Migration Pact

Negotiation process to reach the EU migration pact has been long and complex. The European Commission presented its policy proposal in 2020, but it was only in June this year that a common position on mandatory quotas for asylum seekers was reached.

Subsequently, in October, the EU Council’s position on the fifth regulation, which deals with crisis situations and instrumentalization, was finalized.

Thereafter, intensive negotiations began to reach a final agreement, which was reached in the early hours of Wednesday morning. During the negotiations, challenges arose, especially from France, where migration has been a hot political topic in recent weeks.

However, despite the obstacles, all the pieces finally fell into place, which is considered a turning point in the five key pillars of the Migration and Asylum Pact.

Reactions to the Migration Pact in the EU

The migration pact in the EU has generated a variety of reactions both positive and critical. On the one hand, it is seen as a historic achievement and a step forward in the European response to the migration phenomenon and its challenges.

This agreement is expected to provide greater stability and alleviate pressure on countries of first entry. In addition, it is expected to have a positive impact on the political temperature of migration in the Member States.

On the other hand, criticism focuses on the fact that the pact intensifies containment and deterrence policies, putting human rights and refugee law at risk.

Some non-governmental organizations and left-wing groups in the European Parliament consider that this agreement is not a solution to Europe’s “migration crisis” but a continuation of current policies.

Conclusions

EU Migration Pact represents a historic achievement in the management of migrant arrivals. Through five key regulations, it establishes a new management architecture that seeks to tighten access to those who enter the EU bloc irregularly.

Although it has generated both positive and critical reactions, this agreement is expected to provide a more robust European response to the migration phenomenon and its challenges. Now, it remains to be ratified by the European Parliament and the Council, the EU’s two legislative bodies, before the pact enters into force.