EU presidency: Belgium concludes negotiations on migration pact
On Thursday afternoon, the 27 member states agreed on the ten laws that form part of the new migration pact proposed by the Commission in September 2020. This is a significant success for Belgium, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, writes De Standaard.
In December, the European Parliament and the Commission reached a preliminary agreement on the remaining stumbling blocks. However, this agreement still needed to be technically finalised and translated into legally binding texts.
Member states have confirmed their determination to improve the European asylum and migration system
Only Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia had issues with two of the ten texts, but they couldn't block the agreement as unanimity was not required. "The member states confirmed their determination to improve the European asylum and migration system," said Secretary of State for Asylum Nicole de Moor (CD&V) afterwards.
Migrants wishing to enter the EU must be screened and identified at the external borders. In addition to fingerprints, asylum seekers and illegal residents will also have their photographs taken for the Eurodac database.
Those from countries with an average recognition rate of less than 20 per cent in Europe will be subject to a fast-track border procedure. There will also be a binding but flexible solidarity system with countries under pressure. Moreover, if a country's migration system is overwhelmed, the deadlines for regular procedures can be extended.
These new rules will make the European asylum system more efficient and improve solidarity between member states
"These new rules will make the European asylum system more efficient and improve solidarity between member states. This agreement will fundamentally change how we deal with migration and asylum at our borders and on our territory," said De Moor. The texts will now go to the European Parliament, where a final vote is expected in April.
© BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT