EU: will migration deal be sealed?
The plans for a reform of the European asylum system could take concrete form at a meeting of EU interior ministers today. The proposals under discussion are, however, highly contentious: they envisage even stricter rules on migrants without real prospects of staying and mandatory solidarity with the overstretched states on the EU’s external borders — either through refugee admissions or financial compensation.
Now or never
De Telegraaf points out that many EU governments are under massive pressure over the issue of asylum:
“Elections will take place in a number of member states in the next twelve months, and more heads of government quake when they look at the opinion polls. They fear being punished by voters for their failed migration policies: it is mainly the anti-immigration parties that are benefiting in the polls. Besides, it’s now or never. Christian Democrat MEP Jeroen Lenaers says: ‘If this package is not adopted before the European elections, we will have another delay of several years. After all, the new European Parliament and the new Commission may change their minds and want something else’.”
Italy must decide
Italy plays a key role in reaching an agreement, La Stampa interjects:
“The Italian government has become the tipping point in one of the most politically sensitive games. When Minister Matteo Piantedosi arrives at the Council of Interior Ministers in Luxembourg this morning he will be at a crossroads: either he gives the green light for a historic reform which is certainly not optimal but nevertheless an improvement on the current situation, or he breaks the bank by siding with the saboteurs in the governments of Poland and Hungary, which have already announced that they will not support the agreement. Albeit obviously for diametrically opposed reasons.”
There are no simple solutions
De Standaard warns against seeing the Swedish plan for a new asylum pact as a miracle cure:
“An equally big danger is that politicians will sell the plan as the solution to Europe’s refugee problem. Or as an instrument that will automatically reduce the number of asylum seekers. That would be too easy and would not take account of the worrying developments in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, where escalating conflicts will be exacerbated by climate change. If Europe buries its head in the sand like an ostrich, the migration pact will become nothing more than a naive thought experiment.”