EU Asylum Compromise Met with Criticism from Hungary and Poland

news 11-Jun-2023 Europe

EU Asylum Compromise Met with Criticism from Hungary and Poland

While the EU Commission and Italy welcome the asylum compromise, the plans are met with opposition from Hungary and Poland. Aid organizations are also criticizing the compromise and are calling it a "human rights taboo."

Mixed Reactions to EU Asylum Compromise

The asylum compromise proposed by EU interior ministers is drawing both criticism and praise across Europe. The governments of Poland and Hungary, in particular, are opposed to the solidary mechanism planned for the mandatory intake of refugees. Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced opposition to the plan, stating: "As long as there is a PiS government, we will not allow the imposition of any migration quotas, quotas for refugees from Africa, the Middle East, for Arabs, Muslims, or anyone."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban calls the EU compromise "unacceptable." He stated on Facebook that Brussels is "abusing its power" and "forcing migrants into Hungary with strength. This is unacceptable, they want to violently turn Hungary into a migrant country.”

Italy: "An Important Day"

In contrast, the Italian government is pleased with the outcome. According to Italian Innenminister Matteo Piantedosi, Italy was able to maintain its position and achieve "consensus on all its proposals" at the EU interior ministers' meeting. It is "an important day, and a beginning."

He added that Italy was particularly able to avoid paying first-country-of-arrival nations to keep irregular migrants on their territory. Italy did not accept that, as "a founding member of the Union, it’s dignity is important." The government, therefore, advocates for the compensation payments mechanism, which means that "Italy will not be Europe's refugee camp."

Aid Organizations Criticize the "Human Rights Taboo"

Human rights and aid organizations are sharply criticizing the EU plans. The Seebrücke Alliance referred to it as a "human-rights taboo reform of the European asylum system." They say that these are the "most stringent asylum reforms in decades."

The Secretary-General of Amnesty International Germany, Markus N. Beeko, criticized the reforms as a license for human rights violations. "It is an agreement at the expense of human rights and those who need the most protection worldwide. Amnesty International is stunned by how the Federal Government can celebrate yesterday's agreement as a 'political breakthrough.' It is 'not a breakthrough but a human rights taboo, a disregard for the constitutional mandate, and a broken promise of its coalition agreement,' says Beeko.

Karl Kopp, Head of the Europe Department of Pro Asyl, spoke to the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland about a historical mistake. "The coalition is accepting that human rights and the rule of law will be sold out." They did not put up any red lines and accepted everything. This, in turn, launched "a frontal attack on the rule of law and refugee law.”

From the perspective of Doctors Without Borders Germany, the reform will have catastrophic consequences for vulnerable people. "We are horrified by the approval of the Federal Government," said deputy chair Parnian Parvanta. "The suffering of people on the run will be aggravated, even further by the agreement in Luxembourg."

Mixed Reactions to EU Asylum Compromise: Weber Supports, Green and Left Criticize

After difficult negotiations in Luxembourg, Interior Ministers have agreed to a compromise to end the long-standing asylum dispute. It includes a tightening of asylum laws, procedures at EU external borders, and the distribution of migrants across EU states. Countries that refuse to take in migrants must pay a fine for each migrant into a fund controlled by Brussels.

The Chairman of the European People's Party (EVP), Manfred Weber, also praised the asylum compromise. "If we are successful in creating a European legal system that really works, then the numbers (of refugees) will decrease significantly," he told BR. From now on, it's "over at the EU external border" for anyone trying to enter Europe illegally. However, not all problems have been solved, and solutions with neighboring countries are also needed. "We need an agreement with Tunisia for this summer so that we can get the numbers under control," Weber said. The basic principle of "we want to help" is beyond question. Weber called for a distinction between genuinely persecuted persons and those without grounds to stay.

von der Leyen on Asylum Compromise

Shortly after the agreement, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke out on Twitter. She congratulated Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson and the Swedish Council presidency on a "significant milestone."

The EU parliament Jan-Christof Oetjen of FDP was also satisfied: "Germany has shown flexibility at the migration summit, which has finally allowed us to have a stance on the asylum and migration pact." The German government had originally wanted to exempt families with children from the planned asylum procedures at EU external borders. However, the FDP saw this demand as endangering the compromise. Only in a record note is it now stated that they want to continue to advocate for this exception.

Criticism from Greens and Left in Brussels

Like in Germany, the Greens also voiced sharp criticism in Brussels. It is shameful that Interior Minister Nancy Faeser gave her approval to this proposal with consent of the traffic light coalition, said the spokesperson of the German Green Party, Rasmus Andresen. His party colleague Eric Marquardt spoke of populist solutions. Martin Schirdewan of the Left also criticized the compromise - the right to asylum would be hollowed out beyond recognition, he said.

Lena Dupont, the migration policy spokesperson for the CDU/CSU in the European Parliament, said that the German government had taken a special path in Europe for a long time, thus isolating Germany. However, she welcomed the fact that the EU member states agreed on a position: "If you look at the history of the previously missing European asylum and migration policy - and especially the changed starting point in the last two to three years - it is an important step forward."

The next step is negotiations between the member states and the European Parliament. They must agree before the asylum policy reform becomes final. Critics of yesterday's decision are pinning their hopes on these talks to bring about changes.

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