Keys to the EU pact on migration: states will be able to avoid reception if they pay compensation

Negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council have reached an agreement on the Migration and Asylum Pact that will reform the common policy with greater control of the external borders of the European Union and offer governments a ‘solidarity on demand’ which will allow them to avoid receiving resettled migrants if they pay compensation for each rejected transfer.

The presidents of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsolaand the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyenhas agreed to point out the “historic” moment that the agreement represents, which puts an end to years of tensions between the EU countries themselves – since the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015 – and arrives in time to complete its processing. before the European elections in June, a deadline that weighed on the negotiators to prevent their development from being affected by the electoral campaign and the advance of the extreme right.

Metsola has defended that “it is a humane approach, fair with those who seek protection, firm with those who are not eligible and firm with those who exploit the most vulnerable.” He said this in a press conference with the negotiating MEPs, including the Spanish Juan Fernando López Aguilar (PSOE), who highlighted that the pact “is designed for the Canary Islands.”

Main points of the agreement

  • A “flexible solidarity” mechanism that will force the Twenty-seven to respond to a partner overwhelmed with the arrival of migrants, either by relocating part of the arrived people to their territory, or by paying a assessed compensation for each migrant that they reject. The objective is to transfer at least 30,000 migrants each year, but countries may refuse to receive part of those welcomed in exchange for compensation of 20,000 euros for each rejected transfer or means or funds of equivalent value.
  • Border reinforcement: pre-entry control for people who do not meet the entry conditions that will include the identification and collection of biometric data, as well as health and safety checks, in a process that will last a maximum of seven days. Authorities must take into account the specific needs of minors and each country will have an “independent oversight mechanism” to ensure compliance with fundamental rights.

A pact designed for the Canary Islands

MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar has explained that the agreement reached provides for activating “a European response” to transfer migrants in the event that a region is saturated, without the need for the entire country to be, which will benefit the Canary Islands.

Aguilar has pointed out that “the crisis can be declared not only due to saturation on a national scale, but also on a local or regional scale, with a clause that is specifically designed for the islands, such as the Greeks, Lampedusa and the Canary Islands.”

Criticism of NGOs

Despite the optimism expressed by both MEPs and governments, represented by the Spanish presidency of the Council, several NGOs have seen the result as a “step backwards” in the protection of the fundamental rights of vulnerable migrants who arrive in the European Union in irregular situation or in search of protection.

The director of Amnesty International in Europe, Eve Geddie, has pointed out that “this agreement is designed to make it more difficult for people to arrive safely” and maintains that it will make it easier for “more people to be detained ‘de facto’ at the EU border, including families with children and vulnerable people.

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