The proposal on asylum and immigration presented at the end of last September by the European Commission is a “good starting point” but it is “unbalanced” and it will not make it possible to reduce the migratory pressure on the front-line countries on the EU’s external border and that suffer the most. This has been denounced by the leaders of Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta in a document sent this week to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and of the rotating presidency of the EU, Angela Merkel.
“Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain appreciate the efforts of the European Commission in proposing the new pact on asylum and immigration and recognize that the proposal represents a constructive starting point” but “lThe imbalances that we see in the proposed elements on solidarity and responsibility must be addressed to make it very clear that the equitable distribution of the burden is an essential factor for a true European asylum and immigration policy, “say Pedro Sánchez, Giussepe Conte, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Robert Abela.
The document, four pages long and dated November 23, summarizes the feelings of the four countries regarding migration plans proposed to try to promote a reform that circumvents the veto of countries such as Hungary or Poland – opposed to the relocation of refugees – but at the same time allows reducing migratory pressure on the countries of entry. The blocking of the recovery fund and the new EU budget has increased mistrust among European leaders who recall that it is essential that an agreement covers all the elements of the pact.
Solidarity on demand
In the first place, Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta reproach Brussels that while the responsibilities of the first entry countries are “strict” and are “detailed” in the pact, the solidarity mechanism to relieve the pressure facing the Mediterranean countries is “complex” and “vague”, with flexibility a la carte depending on “the circumstances”, through relocations, operational support or sponsoring returns.
His counterproposal to prevent countries that refuse to welcome immigrants from hiding in alternative ways: maintain the notion of “mandatory relocations”, which should be “the main solidarity tool”, and include “sufficient safeguards” to guarantee successful implementation. of returns that other countries may sponsor.
“Predictability is a crucial element of solidarity in the pact” and solutions based on a fictio juris (legal fiction) of not allowing entry into the EU of those who are not eligible for international protection are unrealistic and will not work, “they warn, claiming that the rules of solidarity and related commitments must be “clearly defined” because “the front-line countries cannot face the migratory pressure on the whole of the EU alone.
Centers closed at the borders
Secondly, the four leaders express their doubts about the control procedure -health and security- to all the people who arrive -in a period of five days- because in practice it will not allow to respect the established deadlines and may lead to unwanted. In your opinion “the decision on examinations must remain in the hands of the Member States “ that they are the “best placed to decide if it is viable taking into account the specific circumstances” because otherwise it could lead to the creation of “large closed centers at the external borders”, something that “is not acceptable”, they emphasize.
Another area of concern is external dimension that must remain a key element. “We have to invest in political relations with our migratory partners, particularly in the countries of the southern neighborhood,” they claim. Regarding the returns of immigrants, one of the pillars for Brussels, they consider that for the sponsored returns proposed by the Commission they are effective there must be clear deadlines and modalities and involve third countries through “positive incentives”.
In addition, although the plan does not address ways to promote legal immigration, they insist that it is an element closely linked to irregular flows since the coordination of safe, regular and orderly immigration and asylum channels will reduce irregular flows and contribute to an orderly management ”, they point out.
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