A banner in a park in downtown Belgrade, Serbia against the Dublin regulation which reads: 'Abolish Dublin, refugees are here because Western countries destroyed their countries' | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/Andrej Cukic
A banner in a park in downtown Belgrade, Serbia against the Dublin regulation which reads: 'Abolish Dublin, refugees are here because Western countries destroyed their countries' | Photo: ARCHIVE/EPA/Andrej Cukic

According to leaked sources a few days prior to the presentation of a new EU plan for migration management set for September 23, the European Commission wants rapid repatriation of migrants, close collaboration with countries of origin and transit and a mechanism for mandatory relocation when needed.

The EU's new migration management plan will call for rapid repatriation of migrants, close collaboration with countries of origin and transit, and mandatory EU-wide "solidarity." That's according to leaked sources ahead of the announcement of the actual plan. According to these sources, measures to be brought in order to manage migration will depend on the situation but will include the highly controversial refugee relocation proposals across member states.

The plan will mark a departure from the old Dublin Regulation but countries of first entrance will remain responsible to some extent. These are the changes that sources say will be brought in with the new pact for migration and asylum in the EU under president Ursula von der Leyen.

Beginning of the end of Dublin Regulation

September 23 will likely mark the beginning of the end of the notorious Dublin Regulation, which in the years since it came into force in 2013 has condemned countries with long coastlines including Italy, Greece and Spain to take the full responsibility for migrants arriving , eager to start a new life in Europe.

The European Commission president had pledged to the European Parliament that she would replace the Dublin Regulation and repeated this in her first State of the European Union address. Her announcement is approved by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. "This is good. Italy worked a great deal for this. The current rules put countries where migrants land at a disadvantage. We are awaiting the Commission's proposal on Wednesday," he said.

"On our side, we are already getting to work on modifying the security decrees." European Parliament President David Sassoli noted that the plan moves "in the right direction." However, many say that since migration is the most divisive issue in the history of the EU, caution is required.

Counterpositions

The work done on the issue by the European Commission, alongside the chancelleries of the 27 member states and the European Parliament, has been unceasing. Seven countries including Poland and Hungary wrote to Brussels prior to the summer break, however, to reiterate their firm refusal to welcome refugees into their countries.

On the opposite side are the coastal states of Southern Europe, who are once again insisting on the relocation of those rescued at sea. Greece, Cyprus, Italy, and Malta are all dealing with a steady rise in the numbers of migrants reaching their coasts, a situation aggravated by the COVID-19 crisis.

Previous European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's team ran into insurmountable difficulties in their attempt to change the Dublin Regulation. Von der Leyen hopes to avoid a similar fate for such issues by strengthening external borders to restore the Schengen area freedom of movement and thus enabling more fluid movement within the common market as well.

The plan will also call for slimmed-down procedures to accelerate the repatriation of those without a right to remain on EU soil to a few months. This is a measure that will necessarily go hand-in-hand with collaboration with migrants' countries of origin and transit, both in terms of the fight against networks organizing clandestine migration and in terms of readmission accords. As part of these efforts, Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson will be flying to Mauritania for meetings.

 

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