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New EU Commission can overcome deadlock in asylum policy

17.10.2019

The new EU Commission should now tackle asylum and immigration policy afresh. Migration researchers recommend that, to overcome the current deadlock, the Commission should untie the reform package for the Common European Asylum System and the EU should adopt those legislative files for which there is already a broad consensus among member states. In addition, the EU should significantly increase the funds in its long-term budget for asylum and migration and establish a monitoring mechanism to keep track of member states’ contributions to the common asylum and migration policies.

In the "2019 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe" published yesterday, MEDAM (Mercator Dialogue on Asylum and Migration) researchers describe concrete measures for the new EU Commission to overcome the impasse in the reform of the EU asylum system that has persisted since 2016—and to improve migration for the benefit of all.

"Since 2016, little progress has been made reforming the EU asylum system. However, the new EU Commission can now make a fresh start by untying the reform package and pursue a file-by-file approach instead," says Matthias Lücke, MEDAM project manager at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. "The reform package consisting of seven dossiers should no longer be negotiated as a whole. So far the controversial proposal to reform the Dublin Regulation has also blocked the five dossiers for which there is already a broad consensus." In addition, funding and operational responsibility for asylum policy should be more centralized at EU level and adequately budgeted for in the EU's long-term budget.

In the opinion of the migration researchers, a successful asylum and migration policy should be based on the following:

  • The EU and its member states should share responsibility in the asylum system in a flexible, solidarity-based manner,
  • provide non-EU countries that host refugees with better financial and technical support, and
  • promote partnerships on an equal footing with countries of origin and transit, which would include more legal migration opportunities to Europe.

"The negotiations on the EU's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 will allow the EU and its member states to advance mechanisms for greater financial solidarity in the areas of asylum and migration. A specific budget line for asylum seekers and refugees that are received, hosted, and integrated by member states would be a particularly effective instrument," explains Lücke. "More financial resources and a monitoring mechanism that could be modeled on the European Pillar of Social Rights would be major steps towards effective solidarity."

The recommendations of the MEDAM Assessment Report 2019 are based on the understanding that irregular migration cannot be effectively prevented by border security alone—neither by individual member states nor by the EU as a whole. At the same time, rejected asylum seekers and other foreign citizens who have no right to remain in the EU must be returned to and readmitted by their home countries in order to guarantee the integrity of EU visa and asylum policy. 

Further Information:

Presentation of the report on October 30, 2019 in Berlin
The "MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe" is the flagship publication of the MEDAM project. It will be presented in Germany on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at the ProjektZentrum Berlin (PZB) of the Stiftung Mercator. More information.

Read the report:
MEDAM. 2019. 2019 MEDAM Assessment Report on Asylum and Migration Policies in Europe "Rethinking EU migration and asylum policies: Managing immigration jointly with countries of origin and transit", Kiel.

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