30th May 2023

Czech EU presidency wants asylum pledges to be secret

  • The Czech EU presidency will present their ideas at the joint home affairs council on 14 October (Photo: Nikolaj Nielsen)
Listen to article

The Czech EU presidency wants to keep so-called solidarity pledges by member states secret when it comes to EU asylum rules.

That desire for secrecy is detailed as part of proposals in an internal EU paper dated 29 September and will be presented and discussed later this month among EU interior ministers.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The secrecy also highlights the political pitfalls over asylum, following years of infighting among EU states on how to best divide and share out arrivals of those seeking protection.

Past efforts to overhaul EU-wide asylum and migration laws led to a collapse given resistance among anti-migrant countries such as Hungary.

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban only earlier this week reiterated those positions, in a joint-press conference with Austria and Serbia.

At the core of the dispute is relocation, where a person arriving by boat to Italy, for instance, would be sent elsewhere in the EU.

The European Commission's latest proposal, issued in September 2020, has attempted to find a middle ground between relocation and other forms of solidarity.

Now the Czech EU presidency has come forward with its own ideas, which would then be folded into the EU commission's raft of proposals.

"The aim of the presidency with this concept is to advance on the solidarity aspects of the reform," notes the 19-page document.

The paper is peppered with EU jargon, including phrases like "mandatory, but flexible solidarity mechanism".

Essentially, it means EU states are given wide discretion on how to help one another , in case a lot of people arrive seeking international protection.

But it also means that they are obliged to come up with some form of help in times of need.

However, how those forms of help are spelled out will not be made public, notes the paper.

Annual solidarity pool

The Czech concept is composed of an annual migration management report, a permanent EU migration support toolbox, an annual solidarity pool, and an EU migration forum.

First, the report would be drafted annually by the European Commission.

Its aim is to provide an early warning tool, offer a forecast of potential irregular arrivals, and assess what kinds of solidarity will likely be needed for any particular member state.

"The report could also include recommendations for concrete annual solidarity measures (and their numerical scale) required for the upcoming year," notes the paper.

Such recommendations would need to be kept secret, it says.

Second, the paper also suggests the creation of a toolbox for EU states.

This would contain a range of responses for an EU state under migratory pressure.

Some of those responses would exempt EU states from established EU asylum law. The EU jargon describes this as 'flexible responsibility.'

Third, the annual solidarity pool would then "serve as the main stand-ready solidarity response tool," says the paper.

It means EU states would pledge contributions on an annual basis. Those pledges are mandatory.

And finally, a 'high-level EU migration forum' would be organised as part of the justice and home affairs council (JHA) meeting at the end of the year.

"At this forum, member states would be obliged to pledge a contribution to the pool, taking into account the recommendations by the Commission included in the report," says the paper.

Those contributions, would also be kept secret, noting that the "outcome of this exercise (the content of the annual Pool) shall be adopted by the JHA Council and would not be made public."

The latest effort comes after the European Parliament and the forthcoming rotating EU presidencies pledged to finalise the asylum overhaul before the European elections in 2024.

But they also follow past efforts by the French EU presidency to drum up support to get EU states to relocate arrivals from places of first-arrival, such as Greece, Italy and Cyprus.

They managed to get some 9,000 pledges, in what was billed as historic.

EU migration and asylum pact faces reality check

The EU wants to finalise the overhaul of the migration and asylum laws before the end of the current mandate in 2024. But big issues on solidarity remain unsolved, including in the European Parliament.


EU leaders have until Friday for refugee resettlement pledges

EU commissioner Ylva Johansson's words on refugee protection were welcome. But, worryingly, the commitments made by EU leaders at the forum have not translated into action. There is still time for them to save face — but it's running out.

Czech EU presidency proposes annual asylum relocation figure

The Czech EU presidency is proposing an annual minimum on the number of asylum seekers EU states are willing to relocate. The idea is part of bigger discussion on solidarity sharing, a concept that has long eluded member states.


New deregulation will see EU states cherry-picking asylum law

Through a mechanism to be discussed on Wednesday, member states would permanently be able to derogate at will from their obligations under EU asylum law — de fact creating a cherry-picking system between EU member states.

Latest News

  1. EU clashes over protection of workers exposed to asbestos
  2. EU to blacklist nine Russians over jailing of dissident
  3. Russia-Ukraine relations the Year After the war
  4. Why creating a new legal class of 'climate refugees' is a bad idea
  5. Equatorial Guinea: a 'tough nut' for the EU
  6. New EU ethics body and Moldova conference This WEEK
  7. How the EU's money for waste went to waste in Lebanon
  8. EU criminal complicity in Libya needs recognition, says expert

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  2. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  3. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics
  6. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  2. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us