When EU migration ministers met in Brussels on Thursday, they were actually only meant to have a discussion on the status of the much-talked-about asylum and migration agreement.
But just before the meeting, there were hopes of reaching much further and reaching agreement in the remaining battle over what actions to take in crisis situations.
-We are making progress. I am optimistic that this meeting will be like the one held in June when ministers were ready to take the final step. “We hope that today they can agree on the final part of the agreement so that all parts can enter into the tripartite negotiations (final negotiations with the EU Parliament),” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said in a recorded statement on the way to the meeting.
The new opening comes after Germany promised not to obstruct the settlement, which it has done since last summer due to concern about its extremely harsh asylum and immigration policy.
It is known that Germany wants other exceptions for special groups such as children and families, and it is shameful that there is no majority for that. German Interior Minister Nancy Weiser said during the meeting that we will continue to press for a settlement in the negotiations, but she nevertheless expressed her support for the settlement.
– We will bear our responsibility today. Visser said: “We vote in favor of this settlement that Spain (the country holding the presidency of the Council of Ministers) worked so hard for.”
Resistance in the East
However, resistance remains strong from generally immigration-skeptical countries such as Hungary and Poland, which strongly oppose most of the Asylum and Migration Convention.
– Hungarian Interior Minister Bence Retvari said inside the meeting room: “If you look at the rules that we are trying to adopt, they will act as a magnet and attract more people to Europe, and this is something that we cannot accept.”
Now the Minister of the Interior of Spain, the country that holds the presidency, is referring the question to the ambassadors of the European Union countries.
– There is a will of the majority that cannot be questioned, so I can do nothing but send it to the ambassadors to evaluate the mandate, said Fernando Grande Marlaska before the end of the public part of the meeting.
Swedish Immigration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergaard (centre) is optimistic.
– It is of course very important that we can move forward with the negotiations with the EU Parliament and implement the agreement which is very important, which is at least evident in the events in Lampedusa now, she told Swedish journalists on site in Brussels. On the way to the meeting.
If a solution can be found, everything will be ready for the final race in negotiations with the European Union Parliament on the final settlement. The European Commission hopes to reach an agreement there at the beginning of next year at the latest.
EU Commissioners Margaritis Schinas and Ylva Johansson presented the Commission’s proposal for a new “Asylum and Migration Compact” in September 2020. Among other things, this agreement includes new common rules for faster processing at borders, an increased focus on returning people without grounds for asylum, and “ Mandatory solidarity, whereby countries pledge to help each other in various ways in crisis situations.
Proposals usually need the approval of the EU Parliament and EU member states. In Parliament this spring, members agreed on how they wanted the rules to look, while member states agreed on their view on the heavier parts at a ministerial meeting in early June.
Settlement negotiations have since begun to reconcile the different lines before the final settlement was officially approved by both sides. However, the EU Parliament decided last week to halt talks for the time being, waiting for member states to first agree to their view on the final draft law, on rules in crisis situations.
According to the plan, everything should be ready in the first quarter of 2024, in time before the European Union elections next year.
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