No Agreement About Proposed EU Migration Pact

A line of Syrian refugees crossing the border of Hungary and Austria on their way to Germany in Hungary on September 6, 2015 (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia Commons)

Representatives for the member states of the European Union failed to agree on a crucial part of the planned migration pact at a meeting on July 26 concerning rules for migration and asylum specifically in crisis situations.

The Spanish EU presidency had suggested a compromise which failed to gain support from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria. Germany, Slovakia, and the Netherlands said they would abstain with concerns about the standard for granting asylum which might become easier. Other countries, Italy included, meanwhile were in support of the proposal from Spain.

There was disagreement on the extent for deviation for countries should a crisis arise, and also what exactly would amount to a crisis situation.

The proposal by Spain included rules that allowed countries to keep asylum seekers in centers at the border for longer and to lower accommodation standards during a crisis, according to the dpa news agency.

Germany reportedly was a key opponent of this proposal, expressing concern that allowing for standards for asylum seekers to be lowered during crises could result in human rights issues; Poland and Hungary meanwhile saw the restrictions tabled by Spain as going not far enough in crisis scenarios.

There was also disagreement on whether returns of asylum seekers to the first EU member state should be suspended in crises.

The planned EU reforms on migration and asylum will now not be discussed again in the European Parliament until after the summer break — or later. On the level of the Council of the European Union, the issue will likely be on the agenda at September’s home affairs ministers’ meeting.

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