On 23 September 2020, the European Commission unveiled its long-awaited New Pact on Migration and Asylum. Aiming to mark a “fresh start on migration”, the Commission put forward a complex package of five new legislative proposals, three recommendations and one guidance, with further legislative initiatives to follow in the coming year.
Many ideas in the proposals are not new, prompting many commentators to brand the Pact as “old wine in new bottles”. This is not true for all the proposals, however. The most novel among them is part of the proposed solidarity mechanism at the heart of the Pact. According to this proposal, member states will be required to support other states that face migratory pressure. If they oppose the option of relocating asylum seekers, they can support the return of migrants who lack permission to stay in Europe through ‘return sponsorships’.