Germany, which holds the EU’s six-month presidency until the end of the year, hopes to reach an agreement in principle on the “key points” of the new Migration and Asylum Pact, proposed in September by the European Commission (EC). ).
“It is a very difficult and difficult task,” acknowledged German Minister Horst Seehofer, warning that an agreement is “crucial” for Europe.
He hoped to agree with his counterparts on a “roadmap” for this reform.
“Our goal is for Europe to focus on those in need of protection, which obviously includes those fleeing civil wars,” Horst Seehofer told reporters.
“But we also want to maintain order, which means that in the future we will not allow so many people to enter, who do not really need protection,” the German minister said at the opening of the video conference.
In an attempt to break the deadlock five years after the 2015 migration crisis, the EC has proposed a mechanism for binding EU member states’ solidarity with migrant countries – especially Greece and Italy.
EU Member States that do not want to receive asylum seekers in the event of an influx will instead have to participate in the repatriation of rejected applicants from the countries where they arrived in their countries of origin.
The draft pact obliges all member states to receive asylum seekers, writes Reuters.
Hungary and the other Visegrad Crane countries (V4, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia) quickly announced that they continue to receive asylum seekers to relieve other EU member states.
In 2015, more than a million people fleeing the wars in Syria or Afghanistan came to the EU.
The EU currently receives up to 1.5 million foreigners who come to work legally in Europe.
About 140,000 asylum seekers enter the EU through illegal channels.
But the proposal is being reluctantly received by several Central European countries, led by Hungary, which are hostile to migration.
And the frontline countries – Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and Malta – are concerned about an “imbalance” between their obligations and their solidarity.
Negotiations could take “years”, according to several European sources.
European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, who presented the “pact” on 23 September following a capital tour and talks with all EU member states, did not expect anyone to be “fully satisfied” with his proposal.
She is optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement, both between the 27 and the European Parliament (EP), but does not expect everything to be “completed” before the first half of 2021.
The Swede also rejected criticism from NGOs about a “fortress” Europe.
“I do not agree,” she told AFP.
“The proposal clearly defends fundamental rights, the right to asylum, provides for new legislation to avoid rejection (…) and solidarity with migrants rescued at sea,” she said.