Matthias Lücke, project head of the MEDAM project and senior researcher at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, comments on the European Commission's New Pact for Asylum and Migration:
"The Commission proposal is a key step towards an EU asylum system that enables member states to manage immigration in line with their policy preferences while protecting refugees.
Above all, the New Pact takes the mutual interdependence of the three main policy areas seriously: First, the EU will work closely with countries of origin and transit to protect refugees in countries of first asylum, combat people smuggling and contain irregular migration, and promote mutually beneficial legal migration. Second, the EU's external border will be supervised closely so that all irregular immigrants are identified and go through a fast and fair asylum procedure. Third, all EU member states must support member states of first arrival that are overburdened by a large inflow of irregular immigrants. In doing so, they are normally free to choose between hosting refugees or supporting mandatory returns of rejected asylum seekers.
In the coming months, EU member states will need to work through the details of the proposed pact with the Commission and European Parliament. In particular, to become functional, the proposal relies heavily on returning rejected asylum seekers smoothly to their countries of origin. So far, multiple bureaucratic and political barriers in both EU member states and countries of origin have caused returns to fail frequently or at least become costly and tedious.
Nevertheless, the New Pact remains the most promising attempt so far to overcome the prevailing practices of securitization and deterrence at the external EU border and to promote humane control of migration to the EU."