Agreement in Brussels on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum reportedly followed three years of intense negotiations, and it should start taking effect in 2024.
The deal will attempt to distribute migrants more evenly across the bloc, providing enhanced support and coordination for processing claims away from frontier states such as Italy and Greece, through a so-called “solidarity mechanism”.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, High Commissioner Filippo Grandi congratulated Member States for reaching a deal.
He congratulated both the EU and European Commission “for reaching a political agreement on the European pact on migration and asylum,” thanking especially the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson “for her persistence and leadership.”
“It is a very positive step. Now to its implementation! UNHCR stands ready to advise and support,” Mr. Gandi added.
Migration has long been a divisive issue within Europe, with some countries forced to bear a disproportionate share of the challenges of managing irregular migration, they have argued, at a cost to national border protection.
According to European Commission (EC), the New Pact on Migration and Asylum is a set of regulations and policies to create a fairer, more efficient and more sustainable migration and asylum process.
The agreement covers five key areas, including regulations concerning identification of non-EU nationals upon their arrival; developing common databases; making asylum, return and border procedures more efficient; establishing the new solidarity mechanism; and ensuring the bloc is prepared to deal with future migration crises.
Prior to the agreement, the Pact had already delivered various outcomes recommendations and guidance on search and rescue, as well as a voluntary solidarity mechanism among EU members.
Welcoming the agreement, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, noted migration management as “a European challenge that requires European solutions.”
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants undertake perilous journeys to reach our borders. They are often the victims of criminals, smugglers and traffickers who lure them with false promises of safe passage and extort money from them,” she said in a statement.
She said the pact would ensure Member States “share the effort responsibly, showing solidarity with those that protect our external borders while preventing illegal migration to the EU”.