Since the refugee crisis of 2015, EU countries have been fighting unsuccessfully over a European asylum and migration policy. Now, finally, a proposal from the European Commission should provide a solution. After years of bickering, the advance should build a bridge between reluctant Hungarians and overburdened Greeks, between rescue workers at sea and warners warning of ever-new incentives for the smugglers. Above all, the proposal from Brussels is one thing: a slap in the face of all those in Germany who argue for a generous reception of refugees and who have just spoken this out loudly after the fire in Moria.
Margaritis Schinas explained on Wednesday why the Commission’s new migration package by no means follows the ideas of politicians, especially from Germany, who are calling for as many refugees as possible from Greece or Italy to be taken over. The Vice-President of the EU Commission, who himself is from Hellas, referred to the wounds that have not healed in the dispute between EU countries since the refugee crisis.
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Pressured by the high number of refugees, a refugee distribution mechanism was decided at the height of the crisis, which some Eastern European heads of state and government, especially Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, still do not accept. The fact that the European Court of Justice has now ruled that Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic have violated EU law does not change that.
It is good if the EU states open a new chapter
But it is in line with political wisdom for the EU now to refrain from repeatedly fighting yesterday’s political battles in its migration policy – especially at a time when the number of refugees is well below the levels of 2015 and 2016.
That is why, in the spirit of Hungary and Poland, the focus of the new proposal from Brussels is no longer on the distribution of refugees, but on the deportation of migrants who have no chance of protection status. You can complain about that, because it does not correspond to the course of the discussion here after the fire in Moria. But it is in line with the opinion of most European Member States.
EU Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) Wednesday in Brussels Photo: dpa
But even if Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, has taken a big step with her proposal towards Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, there is still no guarantee that the dispute over European asylum policy will really be resolved in the near future .
Von der Leyen does shop window
Because with her announcement that the previous Dublin system will be abolished with her move, von der Leyen has been window dressing. Rather, the Brussels plan provides for faster procedures within the Dublin system, according to which the EU state is responsible for an asylum application on which asylum seekers enter European soil for the first time.
It remains to be seen whether Greece and Italy will really be relieved of their asylum policies in the long run. The “Coalition of the Unwilling” from Eastern Europe is now being called upon to assist the Mediterranean countries in deporting migrants who do not need protection. Orban and co should in any case seize this opportunity so that Europe does not fail a second time in refugee policy due to a lack of unity.