EU Approves Landmark Migration and Asylum Policy Overhaul Ahead of June Elections

The European Union is set to approve a landmark migration and asylum policy reform, aiming to harden border procedures and share responsibility among member states. The new measures, due to take effect in 2026, have faced criticism from both migrant rights charities and nationalist governments.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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EU Approves Landmark Migration and Asylum Policy Overhaul Ahead of June Elections

EU Approves Landmark Migration and Asylum Policy Overhaul Ahead of June Elections

The European Union (EU) is set to give final approval to a sign, migration, policy, reforms on Tuesday, just a month ahead of EU elections expected to see a surge by far-right parties. The migration and asylum pact, which has been nearly a decade in the making, aims to harden the EU's border procedures and force all member states to share responsibility for arrivals.

Why this matters: This policy overhaul has significant implications for the future of migration and asylum in the EU, and its implementation will be closely watched by other regions grappling with similar issues. The success or failure of this policy will have far-reaching consequences for the EU's ability to manage migration and maintain social cohesion.

Under the new measures, which are due to come into force in 2026, new border centers will hold irregular migrants while their asylum requests are vetted. Deportations of those deemed inadmissible will be accelerated. EU countries will be required to take in thousands of asylum-seekers from "frontline" states such as Italy and Greece, or provide money or other resources to these nations.

However, the pact has faced criticism from both migrant rights charities and nationalist governments. Amnesty International argues that the pact will "lead to greater human suffering," while Hungary's government has criticized it for not going far enough in toughening up EU policies. Some countries, led by Denmark and the Czech Republic, are pushing for the transfer of migrants picked up at sea to countries outside the EU.

The EU is also stepping up its use of deals with countries of transit and origin aimed at curbing the number of arrivals, with recent agreements inked with Tunisia, Mauritania, and Egypt. Italy has struck its own accord with Albania to send migrants rescued in Italian waters to the country while their asylum requests are treated.

Camille Le Coz, an expert from the Migration Policy Institute Europe, notes that there are "many questions" about how any EU outsourcing deals would work, citing EU law requirements that immigrants can only be sent to a country outside the bloc where they could have applied for asylum. The measures are due to come into force in 2026, after the European Commission sets out how it would be implemented.

The landmark migration and asylum pact represents a significant overhaul of the EU's policies, aiming to address the challenges of irregular migration while balancing responsibility-sharing among member states. As the EU elections approach in June, the pact's approval comes amidst a polarized political climate, with criticism from both migrant rights advocates and nationalist governments. The coming years will test the EU's ability to implement these complex measures effectively and humanely.

Key Takeaways

  • EU to approve landmark migration and asylum policy reforms on Tuesday.
  • New measures aim to harden EU's border procedures and share responsibility among member states.
  • Border centers to hold irregular migrants, with accelerated deportations and shared asylum-seeker intake.
  • Critics argue pact will lead to human suffering, while others say it doesn't go far enough.
  • Measures to come into force in 2026, with EU outsourcing deals and implementation details to be set out.