Organised by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on the Integration of Migrants in Europe (IntoME), in collaboration with the Academy of Law and Migration (ADiM), the Common European Visa for Humanitarian Admission (CEVHA) Research Project, Tilburg University and Radboud University, the Roundtable focused on the main issues still on the table through the lens of implementation (“what will happen ‘on the ground’ if…”), from both Mediterranean and Central European perspectives.
The Roundtable immediately followed the EU Ambassadors’ meeting in the EU Parliament, where they prepared the ground for the Home Affairs Summit on 8 June. The Ministers will be called to agree on a common position for the negotiations on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum.
Despite their different political and professional backgrounds, all participants agreed that an understanding of the practical implementation of the proposals on the ground should guide the Council negotiations and the forthcoming trilogues.
Tineke Strik (MEP, Greens) underlined how the generalised use of detention combined with the legal fiction of non-entry can create a “toxic cocktail” that further undermines the right to asylum and access to an effective remedy in Europe. Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar (MEP, Socialists & Democrats, President of the LIBE Committee) noted that the package approach was a great achievement for the Parliament and that all the proposed reforms are interrelated and “must make sense together”. Laura Ferrara (MEP, Non-attached Members) pointed out that avoiding overregulation and administrative burdens in asylum and migration management “is the most important issue that the negotiations should tackle”.
Mariana Gkliati (Tilburg University) stressed that EU Agencies could play a role in achieving this goal, but “the proposed instruments fail to integrate the role of Frontex and the EU Asylum Agency and to address the need for greater accountability, while joint implementation patterns in Frontex operations remain under- regulated”. Jens Vedsted-Hansen (University of Aarhus) added that the extensive use of safe third country presumptions cannot be seen as a panacea. Indeed, given the lowered threshold for rejecting asylum claims at the borders and the prioritisation of cases with a high likelihood of return, these presumptions risk becoming de facto irrebuttable.
These and other weaknesses were identified and discussed with a view to providing a first fitness check on the workability of the proposals on the ground. Nevertheless, “the reform could also provide a window of opportunity to reflect on the sustainability and practicability of alternatives to the containment paradigm, drawing lessons from the activation of temporary protection for Ukraine” – as Francesco Maiani (University of Lausanne) observed.
The scientific coordinators of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, which hosted the Roundtable – Mario Savino and Daniela Vitiello (University of Tuscia) –, concluded that “it is time to tackle the ‘old divisive issues’ through an implementation-oriented approach. Such an approach must take into account how feasible and human rights compliant the envisaged mechanisms would be, how prepared the most affected administrative systems are and how (in)equitably the costs of administrative adaptation would be distributed among the Member States”. If the co-legislators fail to do so, the additional bureaucracy created by the new rules and the more coercive border procedures threaten to make the management of mixed migratory flows even more ineffective than it is today. This risks further undermining mutual trust between the Member States and the confidence of domestic constituencies in the EU institutions.
Academy of Law and Migration (ADiM)
University of Tuscia (Viterbo)
Department of Linguistics and Literary, Historical, Philosophical and Legal Studies (DISTU)
Via San Carlo, 32 – 01100 Viterbo