EU: Tracking the Pact: Council 'state of play' report on legal and policy initiatives


A documented circulated in the Council of the EU at the beginning of this week sets out the 'state of play' regarding the legal and policy initiatives launched as part of the Pact on Migration and Asylum. A number of legal proposals appear to be the subject of significant disagreement, holding up the adoption of other, less contentious proposals which form part of the "package".

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See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Strategic Committee on Frontiers, Asylum and Immigration (SCIFA): Pact on Migration and Asylum - Progress Report (Council document 8540/21, LIMITE, 24 May 2021, pdf)

The document is split into the following sections:

  1. External dimension
  2. Internal dimension
    1. Asylum
      1. Proposal for the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation
      2. Asylum Procedure Regulation - Amended Proposal
      3. Solidarity Mechanism – Simulation exercise
      4. EURODAC Regulation
      5. European Union Agency for Asylum Regulation
    2. Migration
      1. Blue Card Directive
      2. Talent partnerships
      3. Digital transformation
    3. External borders
      1. Screening Regulation
      2. Return [and Readmission]
    4. Schengen Area
      1. Schengen Evaluation and Monitoring Mechanism (SEMM)
      2. Croatia's Schengen Evaluation

On the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (AMMR), it notes:

"The first reading and discussion of the AMMR was concluded within thirteen meetings of the Asylum Working Party (ending on April 15).

During the discussions in SCIFA and the Asylum Working Party, while large support was identified for many provisions, the Presidency has also identified a number of points where Member States expressed different or even contradictory views. These cannot be addressed at technical level and need a discussion at higher political level."

On the Asylum Procedure Regulation:

"Four meetings of the Asylum Working Party were scheduled to finalise the second reading. Although the new proposed structure of the articles was welcomed by a majority of delegations, the following main challenging elements still require discussion:

    • the mandatory / voluntary nature of the asylum border procedure, as well as its scope and exceptions;
    • the feasibility of linking both asylum and return border procedures and the (short) deadlines foreseen for it;
    • implementing a legal concept of non-entry into the territory, and the (systematic) use of detention as well as possible alternatives to it;
    • the links with other legislative proposals, namely the AMMR, Reception Conditions Directive or the Screening Regulation.

Based on the written comments received from delegations, the Portuguese Presidency, with the support of Commission and Council are taking stock of the different positions. The incoming Slovenian Presidency will follow up on this."

The document also notes, amongst other things:

"Digital transformation

In the management of migration, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digitalization are becoming increasingly relevant. This applies for example in terms of border management and migration and asylum procedures.

The closure of the EU's internal and external borders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has posed several challenges and highlighted the advantages of digitalised processes, while arguably accelerating the digital transition process already underway in some countries.

The Portuguese Presidency in collaboration with the European Migration Network (EMN), organised a virtual conference held on April 30, dedicated to “Digital Transformation in Migration”. Such work brings together European and national stakeholders in the migration field, to debate the risks and opportunities of the digitalisation of migration processes and technologies envisaged for the future. It was an opportunity to learn about innovative examples of how digital tools can support migration management, including the use of AI and a reflection on how to ensure proper digital safeguards and ethical standards are respected.

The debate on AI/Digital Transformation will also be held within COSI [Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation on Internal Security], and raise awareness information points on the topic will be held at both Frontiers WP and Asylum WP, before a debate at political level in the JHA Council on June 8."

See: NOTE from: Presidency to: Strategic Committee on Frontiers, Asylum and Immigration (SCIFA): Pact on Migration and Asylum - Progress Report (Council document 8540/21, LIMITE, 24 May 2021, pdf)

Find more documentation and coverage in our Tracking the Pact series in the Statewatch Database

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