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European Parliament approves migration and asylum reform

The European Parliament narrowly approved the extensive reform of the European Union’s migration and asylum policy on Wednesday.

Amid mounting dissent from both the right and left, the momentous vote proceeded on Wednesday afternoon, despite uncertainties.

Dubbed the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the legislation awaits final approval from member states at the end of the month. The pact aims to manage asylum seekers’ reception and relocation collectively, addressing tensions stemming from the 2015-2016 migration crisis, without altering the long-standing “Dublin principle,” which says the responsibility for an asylum application lies first with the first country of arrival. 

The proposal involves various intricate issues like fundamental rights, unaccompanied minors and financial contributions, which slowed down the legislative process. Despite challenges, MEPs unified their position, endorsing the compromise Wednesday.

However, the vote saw protests and slight delays, reflecting the controversy surrounding the pact.

“The European Parliament should be setting a higher standard for a humane and sustainable common asylum policy,” Amnesty International said ahead of Wednesday’s vote. “However, this package of proposals shamefully risks subjecting more people, including families with children, to de facto detention at EU borders; denying them a fair and full assessment of their protection needs.”

The reform’s success could shape the upcoming June elections, as mainstream parties aim to showcase the EU’s ability to deliver on critical issues. Yet, whether the reform meets expectations remains uncertain, with full implementation expected in about two years.

Source: Kathimerini/Euronews