Critical Moment for Future of EU Migration Response


EU Interior Ministers met in Luxembourg yesterday (Tuesday June 5th) to discuss proposals to reform the Union’s migration policy, an area which has plagued decision-makers since the onset of the migration crises in 2015. These discussions come in anticipation of the European Council Summit later this month in which it is hoped that leaders can reach a compromise on how best to confront one of Europe’s defining challenges.

The Bulgarian Presidency’s proposals for reforming the Common European Asylum System, which are based upon those forwarded by the Commission in 2016, aim to strengthen Europe’s capacity to respond effectively to the arrival of migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. The EU wants to transform the current flawed distribution system to ensure that all Member States shoulder equal responsibility and that procedures for aiding asylum seekers are harmonized across Europe. The absence of robust mechanisms for receiving and integrating migrants effectively means that Europe is failing to temper a volatile situation on its borders.

Speaking after yesterday's meeting, Bulgarian Interior Minister Valentin Radev said the following: “We are no longer in the crisis situation we faced in 2015, but we must still make sure we are ready to face any future crisis". The proposals for reform are a step in the right direction, and the Commission and Presidency have rightly placed responsibility and solidarity at the heart of their plans. However, the rise of anti-immigrant and nationalist voices in several EU Member States mean that Europe is ever more divided on this issue and makes reaching compromise an even more difficult ask.


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