Thursday, European Union legislators adopted a series of proposals aimed at resolving the decades-long impasse over how to best manage migration, a dilemma that has sparked one of the bloc’s most significant political crises in 2023.
The proposals, which were approved by an approximately two-thirds majority in a series of ballots, include an emergency plan that would require the 27 EU nations to assist one of their own should that nation’s reception capacities be overwhelmed by an influx of people seeking entry.
The measures constitute the European Parliament’s negotiating position with EU member states and start the clock ticking. Before Europe-wide elections are conducted in May 2024, the member states now have one year to reform their antiquated asylum system.
In the event that they fail to do so, the next European Commission — the EU’s executive branch — and the new members of parliament may be forced to abandon the project or completely rework it.
Before the vote, Spanish Socialist lawmaker Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, who shepherded the plan through the assembly, stated, “If we miss this opportunity to make things right, I don’t believe we will get another.” “The message would be something like, ‘Hey, listen, it’s not going to happen. Not at present. Ever.’”
In 2015, more than a million refugees, primarily Syrians escaping conflict, exposed Europe’s divisions over migration. The reception facilities on the Greek islands and in Italy were completely overrun.
As tens of thousands of migrants moved north, Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia, among others, erected fences and barriers. Many individuals sought to find refuge or improved lives in countries such as Germany and Sweden.
Under current regulations, the country where a person first lands is responsible for them. Greece, Italy, and even minuscule Malta argue that this is unjust. They have requested assistance and solidarity from their EU partners. However, several nations reject the imposition of mandatory migrant quotas.