European Council steps forward on migration


On the 26th of June the European Council met to discuss the first implementation package of the European Agenda on Migration proposed by the European Commission. As previously mentioned, in the last weeks many EU countries expressed reluctance, especially towards relocation/resettlement proposals and the use of distribution keys proposed by the Commission.

Despite that, the European Council officially committed to proceed with the relocation of 40.000 persons in clear need of international protection (mainly Syrians and Eritreans) over two years from Italy and Greece to other Member States.

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This measure will be “temporary and exceptional” and it has been already decided that UK is not going to participate.

This commitment is followed by a paragraph announcing that a Decision on how to proceed in practice with relocation will be soon adopted by the Council and  the distribution will be taken “by consensus (…) reflecting the specific situations of Member States”. This sentence demonstrates once again the reluctance of some EU  Member States to accept the distribution keys as framed by the Commission. Thus, the decision will most likely differ from what was initially proposed.

Furthermore, it also points out that Member States can decide, on voluntary basis, how many people they want to relocate; this could put at risk the possibility to actually reach the number of 40.000 people relocated. It is also interesting to notice that the sentence seems to justify an exemption for Hungary and Bulgaria, which are now experiencing a substantial increase of migrants at their borders.

This document is expected by the end of July.

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