The EU ratifies the migration deal, showing a shift to the right

BRUSSELS — The European Union struck a landmark deal on Wednesday to overhaul migration policy, a political deal that signals a broader, right-wing shift across Europe.

The full details of the deal, reached after years of discussions and days of marathon talks, have yet to be released, and the plan still needs to be formally approved. But it is expected to change many aspects of how the EU handles migration, from border surveillance to how long people can be detained.

“Migration is a common European challenge – today’s decision will allow us to manage it together,” European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen tweeted.

As the crisis unfolds in Gaza, Europe talks about tightening borders

The 27-member union has long struggled to find common ground on the issue. After the pandemic, when migration fell off the political agenda – especially amid travel bans and closed borders – the issue roared back up to campaign stages and elections, adding momentum to EU efforts.

While the EU has moved quickly to welcome mostly white, Christian refugees from Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s 2022 invasion, it is still focused on keeping out those from elsewhere. Over the past year, the surge in arrivals has fueled the politicization of asylum and refugee policy, raising the issue in many capitals.

While dominating political debate in France, Germany, Italy, Britain and beyond, anti-immigrant voter sentiment has propelled the far-right to new victories in bastions of social liberalism such as the Netherlands.

See also  The SpaceX Falcon 9 will light up the skies over the Space Coast late Friday

In the first 11 months of 2023, the continent saw a 17 percent increase in irregular arrivals compared to the same period a year ago. The more than 355,000 arrivals were the highest number since 2016, when the region saw a historic influx led by refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.

In comments Wednesday, top European officials hailed the deal as a victory for Europe and those trying desperately — and often dangerously — to reach its shores.

“Europeans decide who comes to the EU and who can stay, not smugglers. It’s about protecting those who need it,” van der Leyen said.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the deal “historic” and said it would “allow Europe to gain more control over migration, for example through better, faster asylum procedures at the EU’s external borders”.

But human rights groups condemned the new measures, saying they undermine protections for asylum seekers and refugees and put newcomers at even greater risk. They are particularly concerned about plans to assess asylum claims at the border more quickly.

“The deal will set back European asylum law by decades,” said Amnesty International A Report. “The result is increased suffering at every step of an asylum seeker’s journey to the EU.”

Beatriz Rios in Granada, Spain contributed to this report.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *