Earlier this week, the European Commission presented to member states a new proposal for dealing with Europe’s migrant crisis. The Commission has been aggressively working to overhaul its asylum and immigration procedures.
Over the past two years, one million migrants, mostly from Syria, have reached Europe and the continent has struggled to formulate a cohesive plan to manage the crisis. The proposal seeks to serve two purposes- improve the management of migrants and sway reluctant member states.
Some EU countries are hesitant to accept refugees, so the new proposal offers individual states more freedom in how they manage their refugee population. It also offers 10,000 euros (approximately $11,000) for each refugee they accept. Part of the goal of this new proposal is to have straightforward rules for migrants and countries to abide by. On the issue of resettling migrants who are living in camps outside of the EU, such as Turkish refugee camps, the commission has proposed giving member states the opportunity to collectively decide the total number of refugees that the EU will accept and how to ensure refugees are fairly distributed among member states
When asked what punishment countries would receive for not implementing these policies, EU Migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, responded “we are not here to punish, but we are here to persuade.”
EU policy experts are skeptical that countries like Hungary and Slovakia will adhere to the new policies as they have already resisted taking in more migrants and meet the mandatory requirements of the new proposal. Great Britain, Ireland, and Denmark would not be required to institute the proposed policies as those countries already have an opt-out from EU common rules on immigration.
The proposal also has stipulations for migrants. “The changes will create a genuine common asylum procedure,” said Avramopoulos in Brussels. It would be generous to the “most vulnerable, but strict to those who try to abuse it. Avramopoulos is referring to migrants who engage in ‘asylum shopping.’
Asylum shopping is when a refugee arrives in one country but attempts to apply for asylum in another country- which happens to be wealthier or has more ‘favorable’ policies. For those who do attempt to asylum shop, there will be consequences, possibly including the rejection of an application. The proposal still needs to be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament before going into effect.