The Spanish Council President and the European Parliament have struck an agreement on the essential political elements of five key laws that would fundamentally change the EU’s legal framework on migration and asylum.
The EU is following through on its pledge to strengthen the asylum and migration system. Citizens across the EU want their governments to address the migration crisis, and today represents a significant step in that direction. This reform is an essential component of the puzzle. However, the EU remains dedicated to addressing the core causes of migration, collaborating with countries of origin and transit, and combating the scourge of migrant smuggling.
New EU laws on migration and asylum
The five EU laws agreed upon by the Spanish Presidency and Parliament on Wednesday cover all stages of migration and asylum management, including screening irregular migrants when they arrive in the EU, collecting biometric data, procedures for making and processing asylum applications that also reinforce applicants’ rights, rules for determining which member state is responsible for processing an asylum application, and cooperation and solidarity among member states and how they work together.
“Migration is a common European challenge,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, “and the present decision will allow us to manage it together.”
Before it becomes legislation in the EU, the agreement must be formally ratified by the European Council, which represents the 27 EU member countries, and the European Parliament.
Once implemented, the new rules on migration and asylum will improve the European asylum system’s effectiveness and strengthen solidarity among member states by reducing the burden on the member states where the majority of refugees arrive.
Following the preliminary agreement, technical work will continue in the coming weeks to flesh out the details of the new legislation. Following that, the provisional agreement will be forwarded for confirmation to the representatives of member states (Coreper).
The planned migration and asylum law reform also aims for accelerated filtering and vetting of asylum-seekers so those deemed ineligible can be quickly sent back to their home country or country of transit.
That procedure, which requires border detention centers to be set up, would apply to irregular migrants coming from countries whose national’ asylum requests are rejected in more than 80 percent of cases.
The Council determined its position on these five pieces of legislation in June 2022, June 2023, and October 2023, respectively, and has since been negotiating with the European Parliament to obtain an agreement.