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New European Pact on Migration and Asylum

Overview the latest European policy on migration and asylum
Which needs and events would you say led to the new European pact on migration and asylum that we’ve seen agreed upon on 2020? Well I think we are coming a long way. And there is a realization that the common European asylum system is structurally dysfunctional. Meaning that you have, you know, unfair sharing of responsibilities between EU member states when it comes to assessing asylum applications. In a way that puts a lot of responsibility on countries of first regular entry. Usually, the usual ones are Greece, Italy, Spain, and others who have been constantly claiming for a fairer model of sharing that responsibility in the so-called EU governing system.
So we have a regime, which is based on this idea that the country of first irregular entry is responsible for assessing asylum applications. And we are learning it doesn’t work. And then especially in situations where you have large scale entry number of people looking for international protection. This puts a lot of challenges into an already existing dysfunctional system, as we’ve learned. So this new pact is trying to, again, trying to find a common solution that puts into place a federal system of responsibility. However, in my view, in a way that is actually not really focusing on the right priorities . No, that’s very interesting, actually. Would you be able to elaborate on that last point.
Specifically, if we could maybe talk about what were the biggest changes from the previous model in terms of responsibilities? Yes. I mean, you have a system of so called solidarity, which for anyone also interested in the very concept of solidarity is not solidarity towards individuals. It’s interstate solidarity. It’s the way in which the states shared the so-called, “badly”, I think, burden in upholding the right to seek asylum. Now, if we start from the premise that solidarity is sort of misleadingly used as a way to find ways in which member states can, for example, relocate asylum seekers from Greece to other EU member states, like Germany, then the starting point is fraud.
In a system that the right to seek asylum or solidarity, of course, individuals should be the premise. Meaning, we are moving in a field where there is quite a robust international refugee law framework and human rights, which are absolutes, in nature. People need to receive protection. This is the whole point of having an international refugee system, and a common asylum policy as well. So, on that basis, the priority has been getting a lot on this. On what are the state’s interests? And how the EU can mediate between different governments. Some governments not willing at all to play their role in equal terms.
I’m thinking of the governments like Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, that do not want to participate in any newly envisaged relocation system. But they do not either uphold their current obligations in EU law and human rights standards to provide protection for people in need. So you have those folks sitting in the table. And the European Commission with this new pact is trying to find consensus amongst all these governments. And there is no way to find consensus with those folks that do not even comply with very basic rule of law Democratic standards in their own countries. So, in coming back to the point I made before.
Why is this, I think, the so-called EU pact, which in my view is not a pact, by the way. It starts with a failing premise. We don’t need consensus between EU member states and governments to think of new ways to address the dysfunctional nature of the EU government regulation. We just need qualified majority voting. In the council, we have a European parliament which is co-legislator, which is the institution democratically elected by people, by the way. Which has been calling for a long time for a need to reform this system. And still the European Commission is paying too much attention, I think, to certain governments and ministers of interior whose only concern is how to get away with responsibility.
You mentioned at the beginning of your answer that there was a shift in focus. But it was not the correct shift in focus. Could you elaborate on that? And give us what could be maybe a preliminary evaluation of this new pact. At least, what we have seen in less than a year. Yeah sure. Thank you. I mean, I think one of the elements is that when we use the word pact, it implies that there’s been an accord. That there’s been a sort of a treaty or an agreement between different parties. And this is why I’m saying that this so-called pact is not a pact at all.
It’s a European Commission political agenda setting priorities, and bringing or presenting a set of legislative proposals focusing on speeding up the screening on border procedures, and presenting a new system of solidarity, flexible solidarity, symmetric solidarity among EU member states where member states can pick and choose what they wish. And, also setting up a new framework of situations of crisis.
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