Will the EU Commission push through its asylum plans?

The EU Commission has firmed up its plans for a common European asylum system. A draft regulation foresees a revision of the Dublin Regulation. Under the new rules countries that refuse to take in refugees would pay into a fund while those taking in refugees would receive financial support. Some commentators see the plan as the long-awaited breakthrough; others are very sceptical.

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Die Welt (DE) /

EU shows it can take action

This is the breakthrough we have all been waiting for, Die Welt is convinced:

“The Commission's proposal makes it easier for EU proponents in the UK and for the pro-European parties in Spain to endorse the Brussels plan. Poland, Slovakia and Hungary can also point out that they won't accept the forced resettlement of refugees in their country. … The European Commission has presented a plan for a resolution that it believes is enforceable. This is a political milestone, and not just in the present crisis. The EU has been aiming for common European asylum laws since 1999. … The fears that without such an initiative the EU might suffer irreparable damage were just as great in the Commission as they were in many EU member states. In crises Europe demonstrates that it is still capable of taking action and agreeing on compromises.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Eastern Europe's opposition to quotas unbroken

The EU Commission's initiative for revising EU asylum laws to allow countries to buy their way out of taking in refugees met with opposition from top politicians in Prague on Tuesday and is also given a resounding rebuff by the daily paper Lidové noviny:

“The quotas are an expression of European solidarity, of sharing the burden and of fairness. But they are highly contentious and are rejected by almost the entire political spectrum not just in Czechia, Slovakia, Poland or Hungary but elsewhere too. … And the proposed option of countries being able to buy themselves free from the quota also seems like a dictate. Perhaps it would be fairer to cut these countries' subsidies and leave them to their own devices. Or to officially declare a core Europe. What is clear, however, is that the opposition to quotas is not just a bubble. It reflects the convictions of the majority of Eastern Europeans.”

Pravda (SK) /

Migrants don't want to come to Eastern Europe

Slovakia will hold to its stringent rejection of a quota system for distributing refugees in all EU member states, Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said in his initial reaction to the proposals of the EU Commission. The left-leaning daily Pravda also finds Brussels' plans quixotic:

“Everyone knows that we have neither the technical nor the financial and personnel resources at our disposal. Of the 160,000 refugees stranded in Italy and Greece no more than a few hundred have been redistributed to other countries. What's more, the efforts on the part of the Czech Republic to offer a new home to Iraqis have just ended in a scandal. Of the 89 Iraqis who arrived there, 8 were too homesick and wanted to return to their own country. 25 more crossed the border into Germany illegally to seek asylum there. ... Already it is clear that neither of the two alternatives for distributing refugees will get us out of the current impasse, and both are unacceptable to the Central Eastern Europeans. The migrants simply don't want to come here.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

First reform the Dublin rules

The EU Commission has presented two options for harmonising asylum procedures: a reform of the Dublin Regulation or a brand new procedure at the EU level rather than the national level. The conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung sees a reform of the Dublin Regulation as the more realistic option:

“The simplest way to ease the burden of the member states on the EU's periphery would be the 'fair' distribution of asylum seekers, or in other words a version of the quota system already repeatedly proposed by the Commission. But it's questionable whether such a distribution of the burden would be realizable within such a short time. It would be far easier to harmonise the criteria according to which asylum seekers are granted asylum. It is incomprehensible that the decision of whether someone is granted asylum depends on where they apply for it. Changing this would be a start. But even after the system has been reformed EU policy still won't be able to dispense with ugly fences.”

Delo (SI) /

Asylum policy has come to a dead end

The EU Commission's plans seem unrealistic to the centre-left daily Delo:

“The political situation in the EU right now is such that it won't allow the proposals to be implemented for a long time. A number of member states don't even want to adhere to the current rules and passed resolutions. The notorious Dublin Regulation was established as a basis for determining which country must process the application of which asylum seekers. … But instead of creating an organised system a state of anarchy emerged during the crisis in which the violation of the Dublin and Schengen regulations became standard practice. Brussels wants to ease the burden of the crisis states by resettling refugees. But Brussels has failed to explain how, in an EU of egoists, it can prevent the refugees from becoming the burden of a small group of countries.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Bad timing for new asylum plans

As good as the EU Commission's plans may be the timing is unfortunate, the centre-left daily Der Standard complains:

“Most member states won't let Brussels take control of their asylum policies in the foreseeable future. Otherwise the existing plans for distributing the refugees wouldn't have failed so miserably. And these days in particular, EU asylum policy is facing a concrete and far more important challenge: it must implement the refugee agreement with Turkey in such a way that basic rights are upheld while at the same time Europe achieves its goal - putting an end to the illegal boat exodus across the Aegean without encouraging the refugees to resort to even more dangerous crossings from Libya to Italy instead.”

More opinions

Die Presse (AT) / 07 April 2016
  The idea is good, but Europe's not ready (in German)
Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) / 06 April 2016
  EU asylum procedure good idea but not feasible (in German)