Ursula von der Leyen is the president of the European Commission | Photo: EPA/Olivier Hoslet
Ursula von der Leyen is the president of the European Commission | Photo: EPA/Olivier Hoslet

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the Dublin Regulation will be replaced with a new migration plan, to be revealed next week. Under the current rules, the EU country an asylum seeker first enters is responsible for their claim, meaning states such as Italy and Greece take a much larger share.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech to the European Parliament this week that proposed new migration reforms would replace the so-called "Dublin Regulation." The regulation determines which country is responsible for an asylum seeker's application.

"I can announce that we will abolish the Dublin Regulation and we will replace it with a new European migration governance system. It will have common structures on asylum and return and it will have a new strong solidarity mechanism," von der Leyen said in Brussels.

She added that there would be a debate on the matter, and that the German presidency was also pushing for results on the issue of migration.

She also announced on Twitter that she would introduce a "New Pact on Migration" next week.
The far-right Identity and Democracy group in the European Parliament, as well as members of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, criticized von der Leyen's remarks and plans.

Jörg Meuthen, a member of the EU Parliament from Germany's far-right AfD party, said in Parliament that "the EU is not a state and Mrs. von der Leyen is not a head of state, no matter how much she wishes she was."
Politicians in Italy praised von der Leyen's plans. 

"The launch of the new pact on migration next week has impressed me because it underscores that search and rescue operations at sea are not open to discussion and are instead an obligation for the European Union. This is a rather clear message for Italy," European Affairs Minister Vincenzo Amendola said.

"We have been asking for this for years. So if Italy ceases to be Europe's refugee camp and the only point for migrant boats to disembark their passengers, I will be pleased," opposition politician and far-right party League leader Matteo Salvini said.

Dublin Regulation controversial

The Dublin Regulation has long been criticized by politicians from EU border states and refugee advocates. Southern EU border states such as Italy and Greece have complained that it has forced them to process the bulk of asylum claims while northern and non-border EU states are responsible for far fewer claims. 

Attempts to reform 'Dublin' and introduce an EU-wide refugee redistribution mechanism have thus far failed; many eastern European states such as Poland and Hungary do not want to take in any asylum seekers from other EU states.


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