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EU Council approves migration reform

These are 10 pieces of legislation that reform the European asylum and migration management system.

EU Council approves migration reform
Migrants in Greece
Photo: EPA/UPG

On 14 May, the EU Council adopted a reform of the European asylum and migration system. 

This is stated on the Council's website.

It is a total of 10 pieces of legislation that reform the entire European asylum and migration management system. The documents establish a set of rules that will help manage the arrival of migrants in an orderly manner, create effective and uniform procedures, and ensure a fair distribution of the burden among EU member states.

The reform is intended to lead to concrete changes on the ground, said Nicole de Moer, Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration. In addition to increasing solidarity among the bloc's countries, the European Union will also continue to work closely with third countries to address the root causes of irregular migration. 

The vetting provision will allow authorities to refer irregular migrants and asylum seekers at the external border to the appropriate procedure and ensure that identification, security and vulnerability checks, as well as health assessments, are carried out in the same way.

The new rules on the updated Eurodac database will allow for the collection of more accurate and complete data (including biometric data) on different categories of migrants, including applicants for international protection and people entering the EU illegally. This will help to strengthen control over illegal migration and unauthorised movements.

The Asylum Procedure Regulation simplifies the existing asylum procedure and introduces a mandatory border procedure in clearly defined cases. The Regulation on Return at the Border deals with the return of people whose application has been rejected in this border procedure. The Asylum and Migration Management Regulation defines which Member State is responsible for processing international protection applications and introduces for the first time a fair division of responsibility between Member States. 

The Qualification and Reception Conditions Directive establishes common rules for international protection criteria and standards for asylum seekers. It will also help reduce secondary movements between Member States.

The Resettlement Regulation addresses legal and safe routes to the EU, setting out common rules for resettlement and reception on humanitarian grounds.

An important new feature of the reforms is the mandatory border procedure, which will be applied to certain categories of asylum seekers (e.g. those coming from countries with low levels of asylum recognition). The aim of the procedure is to quickly assess at the EU's external borders whether claims are unfounded or inadmissible. People undergoing the border asylum procedure are not allowed to enter the EU.

The new rules also clarify which Member State is responsible for processing an asylum application (for example, in cases where a person has a family member in an EU country).

The Solidarity Mechanism provides for mandatory support to Member States facing a strong influx of migrants. It provides flexibility in terms of the type of contributions. They can consist of resettlement, financial assistance or, in agreement with the Member State, alternative solidarity measures (e.g., providing border security or assistance in setting up reception centres).

Member States will now have two years to implement the migration reform. The European Commission will soon present a joint implementation plan for the adopted legislation.

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