29 September 2023
Of the five legislative proposals in the EU's Pact on Migration and Asylum, there is only one for which the Council has not so far adopted a negotiating position: the crisis and force majeure Regulation. The main purpose of the law is to set out derogations from other measures in the Pact, which are all due to be approved by next spring. The latest version of the text (published here) was up for discussion yesterday at the Justice and Home Affairs Council, which failed to reach agreement on it. Another attempt will reportedly be made on Monday.
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UPDATE, 5 October 2023: The Council's mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament was adopted on 4 October and is now available here (see list of documentation, below).
While there were major diplomatic efforts to reach agreement on the text (pdf), reports indicate that Italy joined Hungary and Poland in vetoing it during Thursday's meeting.
However, "the Coreper, the grouping of 27 national ambassadors to the EU, will meet Monday to approve the deal, and now with Germany’s support, a majority will be clinched on rules that define what a 'migration emergency' is," says a report in Malta Today.
If that is the case, the path will be open to negotiations with the European Parliament.
Earlier this week the rapporteur for the file in the civil liberties committee, Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, said there would be a halt to talks on the other files in the Pact "unless the Council makes up its mind on the Crisis Regulation because the element of solidarity, binding solidarity when needed."
The solidarity foreseen by the crisis Regulation will involve other EU member states and EU agencies stepping up to support the country deemed to be facing a "crisis" or a situation of "instrumentalisation of migrants."
This particular form of solidarity is for states, rather than people, and measures can include "return actions" and "strengthened actions and cross-sectoral activities in the external dimension of migration."
In June the European Commission proposed amendments to the EU’s budget for the 2021-27 period, arguing that existing finances are at “the point of exhaustion”. The changes sought by the Commission would increase the budget for “migration and external challenges” by €15 billion.
The Council recently approved its negotiating position on two of the key measures that are part of the Pact on Migration and Asylum, but it's not over yet.
"Pilot projects" intended to beef up border controls, accelerate asylum and deportation proceedings, and reinforce the role of EU agencies in Bulgaria and Romania have just begun - yet EU legislation intended to do the same is yet to be approved.
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