New EU deal on tackling irregular migration

EU leaders claim to have come to an agreement for a wide deal to tackle migration after a marathon session in Brussels.

After nine hours of overnight discussions, which ended around 4:30am on the morning of 27 June, the leaders said they had agreed on a new unified approach to tackle the migration crisis across the EU block.

To satisfy demands that the EU take steps to share Italy’s burden, it was agreed that controlled centres would be set up across Europe to accelerate the asylum process. The centres would ensure “rapid and secure processing” to separate economic migrants from refugees, “for whom the principle of solidarity would apply.” Rejected asylum seekers would be deported directly from these centres. The centres would be set up in countries that volunteer to host them.

“We have struck the right balance between responsibility and solidarity,” French President Emanuel Macron said.

A number of EU member states had previously opposed a relocation system, by rejecting their quota of migrants, but the summit’s participants determined that resettling genuine refugees across the EU would be voluntary.

Based on the joint statement issued by the 28 EU leaders, the movement of asylum seekers will be limited across the EU in order to ease the burden on countries like Germany. It was agreed that governments will “take all necessary internal legislative and administrative measures” to stop migrants from crossing EU borders and choose which country to settle in.

Italy, which has been the arrival point for hundreds of thousands of migrants, mainly from African countries, welcomed the agreement. “We are satisfied,” said Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who had at earlier threatened to veto the deal if Italy wasn’t satisfied. “It was a long negotiation but from today Italy is no longer alone,” said Conte.

Turkey will be receiving another €3bn to continue hosting Syrian refugees returned from the EU. The fund is €1.2bn short and comes amid declarations from EU leaders that they would increase private investment in Africa.

The leaders agreed to transfer €500m from EU development to the EU Trust Fund for Africa, which was set up to tackle the root causes of migration from across the continent to the EU.

The EU also wants to set up “regional disembarkation platforms,” outside European borders, most likely in North African countries, to stop migrants before reaching the African Mediterranean coast. The centres would process asylum claims to the EU, in an attempt to eliminate the “incentive to embark on perilous journeys” across the Mediterranean Sea and break the business models of migrant smugglers and human traffickers.

TMP – 28/07/2018

Photo caption: Brussels, Belgium on Jun. 28, 2018. Prime Minister of Austria Sebastian Kurz arrives for a meeting with European Union leaders.