Written by 3:49 pm Editorials

The new EU migration pact won’t stop illegal pushbacks

Last week, the 27 European member states agreed to a package of ten pieces of legislation that are part of a new migration pact. But the new policy will not stop practices of illegal pushbacks at the borders.

Thanks to Spain, the Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission reached an agreement in principle on the latest stumbling blocks in December. But that agreement still had to be technically elaborated and put into conclusive legal texts. That was the responsibility of Belgium, the current President of the Council of the EU.

The agreement led to “emotion” in the room. Only Poland, Hungary and Slovakia had problems with two of the ten texts, but could not stop the agreement because unanimity is not required.

Migrants wishing to enter the EU will be required to be screened and identified at the external borders. Asylum seekers and people living illegally in a country will, in addition to fingerprints, also have to be photographed for the Eurodac database. Anyone who comes from a country whose average recognition rate in Europe is lower than 20 percent ends up in a rapid border procedure. There will also be a system of mandatory but flexible solidarity with countries under pressure. And if a country’s migration system breaks down, the deadlines for normal procedures can be extended.

The texts will now go to the European Parliament, where the final vote would normally take place in April. The pro-European parties hope that with this migration pact they can provide an answer to the criticism of the radical right of European migration policy during the election campaign.

But the new migration pact will do little to change the pushbacks at Europe’s external borders. The practices take place on the Greek border with Turkey and on the rest of the “Balkan route”. Migrants on their way to Western Europe are beaten up again and again and pushed back by border guards in Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary. Manhunts and pushbacks without any chance of asylum have also become normal in northeastern Europe. According to all experts, these practices are contrary to international law. Before a migrant can be returned, a security screening must take place. The control mechanism that should be established under the new pact does not serve the border areas where the pushbacks take place.

Last modified: June 9, 2024