The EU’s proposed new pact on migration has generated dissatisfaction on all sides of the debate.
In frontier nations, there’s worry over the administrative burden that may fall on their shoulders. Those involved in rescue missions in the Mediterranean complain that there are no new funds being planned to patrol the sea and save lives. And among politicians who want to block migration, there’s concern the pact doesn’t establish the principle that refugee cases should be dealt with outside the Union.
The views emerged in a special edition of the Global Conversation dedicated to the pact proposal.
Maltese MEP Miriam DALLI from the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament said she was cautious about the proposals.
“My understanding as things stand today and from what I saw, is that this screening process will probably be the responsibility of the frontline members,” she said. “So that will continue putting much more responsibility and much more weight on the frontline members. Something that myself and people who believe in solidarity think needs to be addressed. And it doesn’t make sense in the sense that if we want to have solidarity and help the frontline members, we can’t continue putting much more pressure or administrate pressure on them.”
Òscar Camps, director of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms, criticised the Brussels plans for not allocating more resources to rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea.
“It doesn’t seem a good start at all,” Camps told Euronews. “Because it formalises the existing xenophobic policies, it outsources the responsibility, especially in the detention centers in Libyan territory This proposal talks about enhancing deportations but it does not talk about reinforcing humanitarian rescues, at all.”
“We think the solution is at the origin,” he said. “We need safe countries where citizens feel safe. That will obviously avoid many migratory flows. If we stop conflicts, we will also stop a large part of the migratory flow. Outsourcing borders, paying third countries to do the dirty work, paying Libya to have illegal detention centers where torture, extortion and violations of all rights are practiced, does not seem like a good solution to me.”
Hungarian MEP Balázs Hidvéghi, European People’s Party, claimed the plan would be a “victory for Viktor Orbán” – if it puts an end to compulsory refugee quotas for member states.
“The pushing and the forcing of mandatory relocation just created deeper and deeper division within the EU,” he said. “ It is clear that it’s not the way forward. So if this new pact on migration finally accepts that reality, that is a good development. And it’s to an extent, yes, a victory for Viktor Orban. “
But he said Europe needs to take a stronger line on the underlying issues: “It still talks about migration as something desirable, it still talks about a migration that is to be managed… And something that is missing from our point of view is a clear standpoint that people’s requests need to be managed or should be managed outside of the European Union instead of letting people into EU territory.”