22nd Feb 2024

Czech EU presidency proposes annual asylum relocation figure

  • The EU is hoping to get a deal on EU-wide asylum and migration laws before the 2024 EU elections. (Photo: Fotomovimiento)
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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 when it comes to EU-wide migration and asylum reforms.

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An internal presidency paper from 20 October, and seen by EUobserver, is proposing either 5,000 or 10,000 voluntary relocations per year.

The figures were offered as suggestions to gauge what EU states are willing to accept.

That debate feeds into an overhaul of the EU's asylum and migration laws proposed by the European Commission in September 2020.

Both the European Parliament and the Council, representing member states, are hoping to wrap up the files before the European elections in 2024.

Among the key legislative files in the reforms is the so-called Asylum and Migration Management Regulation, which governs the entire framework.

The Czechs want to embed the minimum relocation threshold into the regulation.

Under the Czech plan, the European Commission would still be able to propose a higher annual relocation target.

But how to calculate so-called solidarity contributions among EU states remains elusive.

If relocation pledges fall short, then the EU state under pressure can trigger another option.

Under Dublin rules, a member state can transfer a person to the first country of entry, typically Greece or Italy.

Should Greece or Italy not get enough relocation pledges, then they could apply for a corresponding reduction of Dublin cases.

"This would shift the responsibility to member states providing solidarity," notes the paper.

Children who are alone, as well as family related transfers, would be excluded from the scope.

This differs from the European Commission's so-called return sponsorships, whereby an EU state could help deport someone instead of relocating an asylum seeker.

The solidarity ideas are among many that have sought to create some sort of balance with what the EU has coined flexible responsibility.

It is not immediately clear if EU states will agree to the Czech presidency idea. Should they fall short, it will be up to the next EU presidency under Sweden to try to find a solution.


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