2nd Mar 2024


Migration summit, quotas This WEEK

  • EU Council chief Donald Tusk called the summit following requests by Austria, Germany, and Slovakia (Photo:

EU leaders, at a snap summit next week, will hold a broad debate on how to handle the unfolding refugee crisis.

Their interior and justice ministers will, in Brussels on Tuesday (22 September), first try to agree on a European Commission proposal to relocate a further 120,000 people based on obligatory quotas.

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The opponents, mainly from central and eastern Europe, could be outvoted by the big pro-quota bloc, which includes France and Germany.

The Commission could also water down its idea to voluntary quotas, if voluntary pledges meet the 120,000 figure.

Another possible outcome is that the anti-quota bloc bumps the Commission idea onto the agenda of the emergency migration summit, to be held the following day, on Wednesday.

The EU leaders are to debate all aspects of the crisis: border security; Schengen-area rules; financial assistance; and how to help states such as Turkey, which hosts 2 million refugees.

The anti-quota bloc has claimed one reason for its resistance is lack of clarity on the wider issues.

With dramatic developments on the EU’s borders with Balkan states on a daily basis, it’s hard to predict what else the crisis might bring next week.

For their part, MEPs will, at committee level, also discuss migration on Tuesday.

On the same day, they will question finance ministers from Luxembourg, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain on sweetheart tax-avoidance deals, revealed in the so-called LuxLeaks affair.

On Monday, deputies on the economic affairs committee will hear from eurozone finance chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem on the state of play of the Greece bailout, a day after a snap general election in Greece.

They’ll hear from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Wednesday on the health of the single currency.

MEPs dealing with international trade will, on Monday, discuss the Commission’s new idea on how to replace the ISDS in TTIP.

The alphabet soup refers to a special court (ISDS) in which private investors can challenge government policy in the framework of the EU-US free trade pact (TTIP).

The Commission has softened the ISDS model, widely hated by rights campaigners, with a more government-friendly version.

The Luxembourg EU presidency will, on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, hold informal meetings with energy and health ministers.

But EU officials will also start packing bags for the UN general assembly in New York, which begins the following week, and which also has migration and the Middle East top of the EU agenda.

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