When the summer summit of EU leaders in Brussels wrapped up at 2pm on Friday, they agreed on joint statements on everything from Ukraine to China, foreign relations and the economy.
But not about immigration.
The reason: strong dissatisfaction with the two important EU countries for immigration, Poland and Hungary, over the Ministerial Agreement on the EU Asylum and Migration Pact negotiated by the Swedish presidency at the beginning of June.
Thus, the statement on immigration will only be a statement from Council President Charles Michel – with the support of 25 countries – and not from all those present at the summit.
The agreement is based largely on strengthening borders with stricter controls and expanded cooperation with countries outside Europe. This also includes “solidarity” requirements, in which countries help each other with personnel, redistribution or clean money to relieve pressure.
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (center) insists that agreement on the agreement is good.
– This is a very good basis for the work that remains, he said at the press conference with Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after the summit.
resentment in the East
However, Poland and Hungary are still opposed and would like to bring the entire settlement to an EU court.
Countries refused to endorse summit statements on migration unless they heard their demands for full agreement on all migration issues.
We will not accept rules that everyone agrees on unless there is agreement. They want us to build ghettos for immigrants in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban says on Hungarian state radio, according to the Associated Press news agency.
However, Poland and Hungary were isolated in their opposition.
There is a huge push from all the other countries to continue the momentum that we have. It is the first time in seven or eight years that we have been able to find a balance, says, for example, Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo.
For his part, Ulf Kristersson is not worried that Poland and Hungary will now begin to block other issues in order to get their way.
– I see no signs of that. Thinking differently in Hungary and Poland has been well known for a long time. The new thing today is that all the other 25 were pretty much in agreement. I think it was a very big success,” the prime minister told the Swedish press on the spot in Brussels.
Despite the Polish-Hungarian opposition, Commission President von der Leyen is looking forward to successful settlement negotiations with the EU Parliament when Spain now takes over from Sweden as the country holding the EU Council of Ministers presidency.
– This is a watershed, says von der Leyen in Brussels.
EU Commissioners Margaritis Schinas and Ylva Johansson presented the Commission’s proposal for a “new pact for asylum and migration” in September 2020. It includes, among other things, new common rules for faster processing at borders, an increased focus on returning people without grounds for asylum, and “solidarity”. Mandatory, in which states undertake to assist each other in various ways in crisis situations.
Proposals usually need to be approved by both the EU Parliament and its member states. In parliament, this spring, members agreed on how they wanted the rules to look, while member states agreed on their view of the heavier parts at a ministerial meeting in early June.
Settlement negotiations have since begun to reconcile the various lines before the final settlement is officially approved by both sides. According to the plan, everything should be ready in the first quarter of 2024, just in time for next year’s EU elections.
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