The inconsistent migration path of the suspect from Annecy, present in France where he applied for asylum when he was already enjoying subsidiary protection in Sweden, reopened the debate on the reception of refugees in Europe on Thursday. As luck would have it, this very Thursday 8 June, the interior ministers of the Member States took a decisive step in the adoption of a reform of the EU's migration policy, after tough negotiations which underline the persistent divisions within the EU on this sensitive subject.
This “migration package” has been under discussion since 2019, after a first attempt to reform asylum law in Europe failed following the wave of refugees arriving in 2015. It tries to respond to the pressure exerted on Member States , once again faced with a sharp increase in asylum applications (52% in 2022). In principle, it intends to strengthen the sealing of borders with regard to migrants not eligible for the right of asylum, while allowing European solidarity in the sharing of refugees, in order to relieve the countries "on the front line" ( Cyprus, Spain, Greece, Italy, Malta... and to a lesser extent France).
On the face side, the reform is supposed to be tougher for asylum seekers: it provides for a "screening regulation" to ensure more efficient sorting of migrants arriving illegally at EU borders, as well as a simplification of the procedure to redirect people who have been refused asylum outside the Union more quickly.
But on the tails side, new rights are introduced by one of the four draft regulations forming part of the "migration package", to strengthen the prerogatives of long-term residents in the EU and in particular to facilitate their mobility within Europe. .
Above all, this reform proposes centralized management of the distribution of asylum seekers, who will be relocated on a compulsory basis in the various Member States, past a certain emergency threshold in the face of a large influx in a country of first line. In all, we are talking about around 30,000 asylum seekers to be distributed among the Member States. This "obligation" having been the subject of lively discussions between the Ministers of the Interior, it was replaced by a financial sanction foreseen against recalcitrant Member States: they will have to pay a financial contribution of €20,000 for each migrant they will refuse to accept, among those imposed by the future "European relocation coordinator" (appointed by the Commission). An “obligation that does not say its name”, therefore castigate the MEPs hostile to this reform.
Giorgia Meloni's Italy, regularly faced with influxes of asylum seekers landed on its shores, applauded with both hands - to the point that the deputies of the Northern League and Fratelli d'Italia stood out, during a preliminary vote, of their allies from the National Rally. But Hungary and Poland voted against, while Bulgaria, Malta, Lithuania and Slovakia abstained. Not enough, however, to constitute a blocking majority. As the examination of texts relating to asylum and immigration follows an ordinary legislative procedure, the unanimity of the Member States is not required in the Council. Parliament has already had the opportunity to express its very majority support for the reform.
Talks are continuing between the two institutions, before a vote in the European Parliament which will probably take place in the autumn: the Commission intends to have the migration package definitively adopted before the next European elections in June 2024.
Poland, which has already taken in a million Ukrainian refugees since the outbreak of the war, has already made it known, through the voice of its Minister Bartosz Grodecki, that it will refuse to pay the financial contributions demanded in return for its opposition to the reception of asylum seekers on its soil.