Commentary Changes

The EU puts its migration policy reform on hold

The EU has quietly dropped at least two of its plans on how to tackle migration. Some major measures against migration that were adopted under pressure, like refugee centers in the EU and North Africa, and more manpower for the Frontex agency, have been shelved or postponed. It turned out that the EU won’t be able to realize them, and it is not so pressing seeing as the flow of migrants is now lower.

As reported by Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the migration topic wasn’t debated much during the latest EU summit in December. Plans to build new processing centers for migrants’ redistribution on both sides of the Mediterranean is apparently off the table. Even though the plan was officially approved by the member states, none of them are willing to host such a center.

The same applies to the so-called ‘disembarkation platforms’ in third-world countries. Since the EU hasn’t been able to find an agreement among its members, it doesn’t come as a surprise that it also hasn’t been able to find a partner elsewhere. All North African countries rejected the platforms, as well as the Western Balkans states despite their ambition to access the EU, which even offered them aid.

Ironically enough, Chancellor Kurz who had been pushing for ‘disembarkation platforms’ for years and wanted to realize them during the Austrian presidency, stated later in September that he doesn’t really know who came up with the idea.

Also, a plan to strengthen Frontex will not take place anytime soon. It looks like neither of the member states is able to find enough skilled border guards. Therefore, there is already talk of a new date of 2025 instead of the originally planned 2020.

It is highly unlikely that anything will change before the European elections, so the asylum system reform stays on hold until June at least, however what is going to happen after the elections is even more uncertain.

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