EU 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.
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 2 years. [Euronews]

Moreover, the approval of a new migration pact by the European Parliament is a major reform on the issue, Hellenic Migration and Asylum Minister Dimitris Kairidis said on Wednesday.

Welcoming the result, Kairidis said that following "tough 3-year negotiations," the pact "brings a great change and is a very significant step to a joint - and therefore more effective - management of migration challenges of our times."

The Greek government supported this effort from the very start, he added, which "undoubtedly is a historic day for European unification, on a critical issue around which some chose division rather than compromise. Today we proved that European peoples can manage better when united."

(Photo: Men return from Libya on the way back to their countries of origin, in Agadez, Niger, Dec. 18, 2023. For years, Niger outlawed migration out of Agadez, a desert outpost in the West African country, in a deal with the European Union, but now the gateway city to the Sahara has reopened to migrants traveling north to Europe. [Carmen Abd Ali/The New York Times])