European Council paves the way for a future common European asylum and migration policy

The representatives of the Member States of the Union have come to an agreement on the final component of a common European asylum and migration policy. At a meeting of the Council’s permanent representatives committee, Member States sealed their negotiating mandate on a regulation for crisis situations. This includes the instrumentalisation of migration and force majeure in the area of migration and asylum. This position must form the basis for negotiations between the presidency of the Council and the European Parliament.

Several European political representatives consider it a major step forward on a critical issue for the future of the EU. With the agreement, a better position is achieved to reach an agreement on the entire asylum and migration pact with the European Parliament later this year.

The new regulation establishes the framework that would allow Member States to address crisis situations in the field of asylum and migration by modifying certain rules, such as those regarding the registration of asylum applications or the asylum border procedure. These countries could also request solidarity and support measures from the EU and its member states.

In the case of a crisis or force majeure, Member States may be allowed to apply specific rules on asylum and the return procedure. In this regard, among other measures, the registration of applications for international protection may be completed no later than four weeks after the application is made, thus lightening the burden on overloaded national administrations.

A Member State facing a crisis situation may request solidarity contributions from other countries of the Union. These contributions may take the form of:

  • Relocation of asylum seekers or international protection beneficiaries from the Member State in crisis to contributing Member States.
  • Responsibility trade-offs, i.e., the supporting Member State would assume responsibility for examining asylum applications with the aim of relieving the Member State in a crisis situation.
  • Financial aid or alternative solidarity measures.

In accordance with the principles of necessity and proportionality, and in full compliance with the fundamental rights of third-country nationals and stateless persons, these exceptional measures and solidarity support require the authorisation of the Council.

The regulation tackling crisis situation and force majeure in the area of migration and asylum is part of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by the European Commission on September 23, 2020. The pact encompasses a set of proposals to reform EU migration and asylum rules. In addition to the crisis regulation, the asylum and migration management regulation and the asylum procedure regulation are other baseline proposals.


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