In Southern Europe, reactions to the EU Commission’s proposal are mixed. In Spain in particular, there is little enthusiasm for the fact that key positions of the country have not been taken into account. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the PSOE party (“Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party”) is preparing for tough negotiations in Brussels and has asked the three relevant ministries (interior/exterior/migration) to analyse the proposal beforehand. In Italy, on the other hand, the reactions are more positive.
The mood was tense when Margaritis Schinas and Ylva Johansson appeared before the press on Wednesday 23 September with their migration pact. “Nobody will be satisfied,” predicted the EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, foreseeing reactions to the more than 300-page proposals, even before the Visegrád heads of government, as expected, began their chorus of critics on Friday.
While human rights and migrant organisations in particular widely criticised the pact, as in their opinion it was too much focused on restrictive migration prevention, not only Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, but also Austria’s Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz signalled that they would not easily agree on the proposals.
On 1 July, Germany takes over the EU Council Presidency and faces a major agenda. [Part 3]
Hardly any other topic has been as intensely debated in recent years as the future of the EU’s asylum and migration policy. The refugee crisis of 2014 and 2015 has clearly demonstrated the need for pan-European solutions for all parties involved. Yet despite this acknowledgement, the Member States have still not been able to agree on a fair and effective distribution key and clear responsibilities within the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). During its Presidency, Germany should therefore devote a great deal of political capital to disentangling the positions that have been deadlocked for years.