The deal on the New Pact on Migration marks the death of the individual right to asylum in the EU.
The European Commission and Council’s rush to strike the agreement reached this morning comes at the expense of the dismantling of human rights in Europe. The New Pact is a bow to right-wing extremists and fascists of Europe. The tightening of asylum laws was tailored to the demands of the Melonis and Orbans. The Migration Pact will not stop forced migration due to persecution, war and poverty.
The deal, a historic moment for all the wrong reasons, will have far-reaching consequences for the rights of people on the move for decades to come. The human rights standards the EU claims as values were born out of the ashes and horrors of the Second World War, yet this agreement marks a turning point as current rights violations related to migration are legalised.
The adopted legislation normalises the arbitrary detention of people on the move, including for children and families and it increases racial profiling. The Council has managed to get its way and included the concept of the so-called “instrumentalisation” of migration in the crisis regulation. This questionable concept is a blank cheque for the suspension of practically all rights of people seeking protection.
The Left opposes claims of a “migration crisis” in the EU. We are facing an implementation “crisis” of the current EU migration and asylum law, reflected in daily violations of this legislation by member states.
The Left has been fighting for a humane, solidarity-based migration policy with proposed alternatives that would allow people to come to Europe in dignity.
Left MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) commented on the deal:
“Today is a dramatic day for the rights of people seeking protection in Europe: a right-wing populist dream-come-true. In the negotiations on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the European Parliament became the doormat of the member states. The agreement, which is largely based on the Council mandate, is the most massive tightening of European asylum and migration law since the EU was founded. In the future, asylum seekers will be detained at the border, including families with children of all ages. From there, it will then be possible to deport people directly, if possible, to so-called “safe third countries”. This means that the individual right to asylum is de facto dead.
Ernst continues: “A genuine reform of Dublin has failed. Instead of relocating people, the member states can finance projects in third countries or provide funds for border surveillance, such as barbed wire within the EU. This is then called “solidarity” – it is sheer mockery. The Council has managed to get its way and included the concept of the so-called “instrumentalisation” of migration in the crisis regulation. This questionable concept is a blank check for the suspension of practically all rights of people seeking protection and a carte blanche for pushbacks. The member states will abuse this in order to make the exception the rule. A dark day. Once again, the EU will not solve the challenges of European migration policy. On the contrary, the new reform legalises years of violations of EU asylum law by the member states. This will severely damage the rule of law in Europe.”
Left MEP Malin Björk (Vänsterpartiet, Sweden) said:
“This is not our pact. It is a sad day for all of us who have worked for an EU asylum policy built on respect for international law and commitments, on dignity and solidarity. In the face of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU showed that solidarity with those seeking protection is possible. But instead of building on that experience, the deal just struck will institutionalise and worsen the most repressive practices: mass detention, pushbacks, and cruelty at the borders. That the EU institutions now loudly celebrate such a deal, that is rejected by all those actually working on the ground – and welcomed by the far right – is a farce.”
“Eurodac has been expanded far beyond its original scope and will primarily be used in a repressive way to monitor and control asylum seekers and as an instrument against secondary movement. This reform means that Eurodac is now targeting asylum seekers as security threats. Enforcing this kind of registration and use of data for any other category of people would be politically impossible, for the simple reason that it is contrary to the principles proportionality, purpose limitation, and personal integrity.”
Left MEP Konstantinos Arvanitis (Syriza, Greece) added:
“Two days after International Migrants Day, the European Parliament, Commission and the Council reached a deal on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The final battle for the Crisis File, in the drafting of which I participated as a shadow rapporteur, took place. Tirelessly and decisively from the first moment, we fought for a different approach to the Commission and the Council, asking for mandatory relocation in times of crisis and granting prima facie international protection. We fought against the push from the Council to use the concept of crisis and instrumentalisation to derogate from the EU acquis. By accepting to include instrumentalisation as a “crisis” situation, the Parliament opened the door to abuse. This will lead to every single applicant being channelled in the border procedure. As a result of the trilogues, mandatory relocation also ceased to be the only form of solidarity in times of crisis. Member states will now be able to pay and sponsor the countries of first reception to keep refugees and asylum seekers. European Guantanamo with legal European sponsorship. Once again, Europe fails to ensure solidarity, the protection of first-entry countries like Greece and the right to asylum. Where real European solidarity is sought, only hypocrisy is found.”