In a surprise turnaround, the EU Council has today announced that it could not agree on a legislative proposal for an EU framework to resettle refugees. The Council decided not to hold a discussion on the proposal nor on other asylum-related files that were scheduled.

The Council explained that it would instead lump them in a Package with all seven legislative proposals, including a revision to the Dublin Regulation, thus postponing the decision on resettlement and related topics to a later date.

Malin Björk (Vänsterpartiet, Sweden), the Parliament’s rapporteur on refugee resettlement, expressed her dismay at the Council’s decision:

“We received signals that the Bulgarian Presidency had succeeded in uniting member states behind the tabled proposal but now that seems to have changed. It is immensely sad that we are missing out on this unique opportunity to finally introduce safe and legal pathways to Europe for refugees.”

“This shows that member states are not interested in a humane refugee policy. On World Refugee Day, this is the EU’s shameful message to them.”

“My hope is that the informal meeting announced for this Sunday helps bridge the divisions in the Council, making a decision possible during the upcoming EU summit at the end of this month. Member states should at least agree on a new and improved Dublin Regulation because an externalised asylum process, with refugee camps beyond scrutiny and control, is not an alternative,” Björk concluded.

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