After years of bickering, EU states agreed on Thursday to tighten EU asylum rules (see video above). “The mandatory procedures at the external border are an important first step in the right direction. This implements a demand from Austria that we have been fighting for at all levels,” Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) stressed on Friday.
According to the Chancellor, it was worthwhile to clearly demonstrate that Schengen does not work and that stricter rules are needed at the external borders.
Chancellor: Separate asylum and economic migration
Because a clear separation of asylum and economic migration is needed. “But one thing is clear: a total reform is needed to fix the EU’s failed asylum policy of recent years,” said Nehammer. This requires robust external border protection and asylum procedures in third countries.
The chancellor wants to discuss the subject again at the EU summit of heads of state and government: “Austria remains strict on asylum policy. The asylum brake is still not tightened tightly enough in the EU.”
In concrete terms, the EU interior ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday discussed the distribution of asylum seekers in the EU and preliminary examinations of asylum applications from people at the European external border with little chance of a right of residence. According to the EU Commission, the plans should also enable far-reaching cooperation projects with non-EU countries.
Focus on dealing with migrants with no prospect of staying
The compromise mainly provides for a much more rigid approach to migrants with no prospect of residence. In the future, people coming from countries considered safe should end up in tightly controlled reception facilities after crossing the border under conditions similar to detention. There, it is normally examined within six months whether the asylum seeker has a chance of being granted asylum. If not, it must be returned immediately.
According to the responsible Commissioner, Ylva Johansson, rejected asylum seekers can in principle also be deported to non-EU countries in the future. The only requirement should be that they have some connection to this country. What this should look like should be at the discretion of the EU states responsible for the respective asylum procedure.
In addition to the tightened asylum procedures, according to the agreement of the EU ministers of the interior, there must also be mandatory solidarity with the heavily burdened member states at the external borders of the EU. Countries that do not want to take in refugees should pay compensation. Countries such as Hungary therefore voted against the plan.
EU countries must now negotiate with the EU parliament
If passed, the regulation would allow Italy, for example, to use it to return people crossing the Mediterranean to Tunisia, if the government in Tunis agrees. To convince them to agree, financial support could be provided. The final text of the law now requires EU states to enter into negotiations with the EU Parliament.
I am Ida Scott, a journalist and content author with a passion for uncovering the truth. I have been writing professionally for Today Times Live since 2020 and specialize in political news. My career began when I was just 17; I had already developed a knack for research and an eye for detail which made me stand out from my peers.