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The upcoming New Pact on Migration and Asylum: Will it be up to the challenge?

Alberto-Horst Neidhardt , Olivia Sundberg Diez

Date: 29/04/2020
A courageous and ambitious New Pact on Migration and Asylum is one that strengthens the right to asylum; sets the conditions for more equal relationships with third countries when it comes to managing migration; and puts forward a mechanism that can foster genuine solidarity between member states.

When the new Commission entered into office in December 2019, it promised a fresh start on migration, breaking the deadlock between member states on long-awaited reforms.

Unfortunately, based on a range of leaked papers and official (draft) documents that have been circulating since late 2019, it seems that the Commission may opt to reduce the New Pact to a collection of watered-down compromises on responsibility-sharing. It also appears to be doubling down on control-oriented measures. 

This Discussion Paper argues that a different approach is needed to set up an EU asylum and migration policy that is efficient, respects asylum seekers’ fundamental rights and can prevent and meaningfully address future humanitarian emergencies. The New Pact on Migration should: 

  • put forward a mechanism for meaningful solidarity between member states. To prevent humanitarian emergencies, this mechanism must ensure the prompt relocation of all those in need from countries of first arrival.
  • prioritise strengthening the right to asylum, in a safe and accessible way. Procedural safeguards should be reinforced, and financial resources and operational support should be invested in the regular asylum process to improve the efficiency of the Common European Asylum System.
  • promote a more sustainable and equal relationship with third countries. This means minimising the use of conditionality, preventing return and readmission from dominating the agenda, increasing and implementing resettlement commitments, and promoting the development of legal pathways.

Read the full paper here
Photo credits:
Jörg Carstensen / dpa / AFP

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