(Photo by Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)


Proposed EU Migration Pact stranded amid ‘insufficient support’


The European Union’s contentious migration law has become bogged down in the Council of the European Union after it failed to gain enough backing.

In a meeting on July 26, the proposed Migration Pact legislation got stuck when, despite lengthy negotiations between the EU’s national representatives, no agreement was reached.

The law concerns the mechanisms EU countries will use, should migration numbers tip over into “crisis levels”.

Speaking to Brussels Signal, a spokesman for the Council of the European Union, also known as Council of Ministers, said that the Pact had received “insufficient support” to progress.

Too many of the Members States found the planned measures unacceptable, he said, and in the end the law was set aside before it could come to any vote.

Prior to that, it was reported there were two primary areas of contention.

One was whether it would be possible, during a mass-migration crisis, for non-frontline Member States to return migrants to the EU country they had initially arrived in. The other sticking point was whether a frontline state could drop sanctioned and strict migration checks if it was being “flooded” by arrivals.

Additionally, the spokesman said many national representatives in the Council meeting felt there was a poor “balance of responsibility and solidarity” in the proposed law.

“Solidarity” is EU-speak for a new principle in the Migration Pact, where the mainly richer northern EU countries who are less affected by migration could help out Mediterranean countries such as Greece and Italy. They might do that by either taking on relocated migrants, or paying the affected countries’ charge of €20,000 per migrant rejected.

Observers say it appears that the northern countries increasingly feel like they are getting a raw deal and that the frontline Mediterranean countries would get too much leeway.

Our source confirmed that a first meeting had been held on the matters on July 25 that had dragged on long into the night, again with no agreement on the issues.

The spokesman insisted that the Council of Ministers was “not against” the legislation, only that further discussion would be needed.

It does highlight another potential hurdle for getting the Pact over the finish line before next year’s EU elections.

The proposed law still has to go before a meeting of national EU ministers. In will be sent to be reviewed before the next push to have it approved, most likely in the autumn.

The Migration Pact has caused controversy in every institution it’s moved through.

In last month’s European Council Summit, Poland and Hungary forced the two-day meeting to the eleventh hour, and stumped the Council by not allowing it to adopt any conclusion regarding the Pact or any amendments. The two countries insisted that the “solidarity mechanism” was just mandatory relocation “by the back door” and constituted a violation of national sovereignty.

In the European Parliament it led to shouting matches and a heated three-way split. Embattled centrists supported it but were attacked by those on the Left who said the Pact was inhumane to migrants and by the Right who said it didn’t do enough to protect the EU’s borders.