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The European Parliament Reforms Migration and Asylum Rules

The European Parliament recently voted in favour of a reformed set of migration and asylum rules. Pending ratification from the member states, a process considered to be nothing more than a formality, the EU Asylum and Migration Pact is scheduled to enter into force in 2026. Following years of debate between ideologically-separated lawmakers, the EU Asylum and Migration Pact aims to better manage the impact of migration onto the European Union by means of accelerating the process whereby invalid applications are rejected, while also distributing the burden of the entire process more evenly among all member states – previously handled almost exclusively by the southern member states alone. The fact that the number of asylum applications in 2023 reached a record high since the mid-2010s was, of course, another contributing factor. The massive wave of migration that was caused by wars in Syria and Iraq translated into some 1.3 million people seeking shelter in Europe in 2015.

The president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, wrote on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, “History made. We have delivered a robust legislative framework on how to deal with migration and asylum in the EU.” The robustness of the new piece of European Union legislation is a clear reference to the strict rules imposed on irregular migration. Migrants entering the European Union illegally will be subjected to “identity, health and security checks, including biometric readings of faces and fingerprints, within seven days,” so as to determine “which migrants should receive an accelerated or normal asylum application process, and which ones should be sent back to their country of origin or transit. Children are to receive special treatment, with countries obliged to install independent monitoring mechanisms to ensure rights are upheld.” [1] Based on the new EU Asylum and Migration Pact, those asylum applications of migrants from countries such as Bangladesh, Morocco, and Tunisia will be processes in detention centres located at close proximity to the external borders of the European Union, thus allowing room for earlier deportation. Whether at land borders, airports or sea ports, it is estimated that these centres could accommodate some 30,000 migrants, while the total number of migrants going through them is estimated at 120,000 annually.

To this day, the recipient country where an asylum-seeker first arrives is responsible for processing their application, therefore, exerting significantly more pressure, particularly from a socio-economic viewpoint, on Europe’s southern states like Greece, Italy, Malta, and Spain. The EU Asylum and Migration Pact provides a certain degree of assistance towards these states by obligating other member states to either physically accommodate those asylum-seekers that arrive at the European south while their applications are being processed by the recipient member states, share the financial burden with the recipient member states or provide additional personnel. As some 30,000 asylum-seekers are expected per year, member states unable (or unwilling) to host migrants will have to make an annual contribution of €600 million.

Christos Kassimeris, PhD

Christos Kassimeris, PhD

Professor Christos Kassimeris heads the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at European University Cyprus and is coordinator of the BA in European Politics and Communication. Before joining European University Cyprus, he was teaching European Integration Politics and International Relations of the Mediterranean for three years at the University of Reading. He is the author of European Football in Black and White: Tackling Racism in Football (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007), Greece and the American Embrace: Greek Foreign Policy Towards Turkey, the US and the Western Alliance (I.B. Tauris Academic Studies, 2009) and Football Comes Home: Symbolic Identities in European Football (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2010), editor of Anti-racism in European Football: Fair Play for All (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2009), The Marketing of War in the Age of Neo-Militarism (Routledge, 2011) and The Politics of Education: Challenging Multiculturalism (Routledge, 2011), and has several publications in political science journals. He is also Visiting Research Fellow at the University of De Montfort.


  1.  Deutsche Welle, European Parliament agrees on stricter EU migration rules, 10 April 2024.

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