Loopholes in the EU’s New Migration Pact Could Endanger Migrants

Loopholes in the EU’s New Migration Pact Could Endanger Migrants
Migrants sit on the deck an Italian Coast Guard vessel as they are taken to Italy’s Lampedusa Island after being rescued at sea, Sept. 15, 2023 (LaPresse photo by Cecilia Fabiano via AP).

After more than three years of negotiation, the member states of the European Council officially reached a landmark agreement May 14 to reform the norms governing the reception of migrants and asylum seekers. The Pact on Migration and Asylum, as it is known, consists of 10 legislative acts which by 2026 will reform the existing European framework for asylum and migration management, known as the Dublin Regulations.

During the voting session at the EU Council in Brussels earlier this month, Poland and Hungary opposed every piece of legislation, as expected. While other countries, such as Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Malta, and Austria, either abstained or voted against specific measures. Nevertheless, the regulations met the required threshold for approval, with 65 percent of EU countries representing at least 55 percent of the union’s total population voting for passage.

The presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission hailed the new pact, saying it was an "historic day" and a “huge achievement,” respectively. However, their enthusiasm was tempered by the opposition of more than 160 civil society organizations, which contend that the new pact represents a step backward in safeguarding the human rights of migrants, particularly those of unaccompanied minors. During the voting, a group of activists even disrupted the proceedings, shouting “This pact kills, vote no.”

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