Two against 25 in asylum policy
The EU summit in Brussels threatens to end without consensus on future asylum policy. In the morning, after the blockade by Poland and Hungary, there was initially no agreement among the 27 heads of state and government.
Dispute Erupts at EU Summit over EU Asylum Reform Agreement
First relief, now disillusionment: A heated dispute has broken out at the EU summit over the recently reached agreement on EU asylum reform, which was achieved at the beginning of the month after years of dispute. The agreement was reached by the interior ministers of the member states, but with a majority decision.
Hungary and Poland Oppose EU Asylum Reform Agreement
Hungary and Poland, who were outvoted at the time, are now opposing the compromise. The compromise includes, among other things, the distribution of migrants within the community. EU member states that do not accept migrants are required to pay €20,000 per person not accepted.
Polish Prime Minister Rejects Forced Measures in Asylum Policy
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki refuses to accept forced measures. "The Polish government does not agree to coercive measures. We do not accept a complete change in policy." He sees it as a return to the situation in 2016 when some countries pushed for forced relocations to Poland. "We and several other countries disagreed, and then in 2018 it was concluded that there is no compulsion."
Convincing Efforts Continue Late into the Night
The other EU heads of state and government tried to convince Morawiecki and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban until 1 a.m. without success. A final statement on migration was not reached for the time being.
Two against 25: Disagreements Persist at EU Summit
On Friday morning, the dispute continued, and it appears to be two against 25, according to Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. "There was great pressure from all other states to seize the momentum we have now. For the first time in seven or eight years, we were able to find a balance between countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria, where there is a lot of secondary migration, and the countries of arrival. There is indeed a desire to reach resolutions."
Agreement on External Aspects of Asylum Package Remains Uncontroversial The outward-facing parts of the asylum package are actually uncontroversial: all member states demand faster procedures at the EU's external borders, swift returns of rejected applicants, and agreements with the countries of origin and transit for migrants.
Poland and Hungary's Demands Continue to Block EU Summit According to the Polish government, EU member states should decide for themselves whether and whom they accept. Hungarian Prime Minister Orban has threatened to halt EU funds for the delivery of weapons and equipment to Ukraine in a radio interview.
Warsaw and Budapest's Long-standing Blockades in Brussels Brussels has been accustomed to blockades in various political fields from Warsaw and Budapest for years. Many have had enough.
Luxembourg's Prime Minister Refuses to Accept Minority Rule Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel openly expresses it: "They simply say: we disagree with the majority decision, and that is not acceptable to us." Otherwise, he could also make a list of what he has not liked in the past ten years. "I would rather have no conclusion than a bad one. If it states that Poland and Hungary have the possibility to question a majority vote now and in the future, then I will not participate."
Reducing Dependency on China
While the dispute over asylum policy overshadowed the EU summit, the heads of state also discussed other pressing issues, such as relations with the People's Republic of China. The main concern for EU countries is to significantly reduce economic dependence on China while not completely decoupling from the world's second-largest economy.
It was stated that where necessary and appropriate, risks would be mitigated, and vulnerabilities in supply chains, such as certain raw materials, batteries, and pharmaceutical ingredients, would be reduced. Currently, the EU is economically dependent on China in these areas.
The reason behind this positioning is that China is increasingly seen as an unreliable partner due to its political developments in recent years. Sharp criticism has been directed at China's handling of human rights issues and its failure to distance itself from Russia's aggression against Ukraine.
In the EU's statement on China policy, it is now stated that the European Union and China, despite their different political and economic systems, share a common interest in constructive and stable relations. The European Union will continue to work with China to address global challenges.