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The EU Migration and Asylum Pact must make European solidarity a priority

Ahead of the European Council (23-24 March), the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons recalled the importance of European solidarity to facilitate the reception of migrants and refugees. In a declaration adopted today, it urged European Union institutions to allocate means for reception policies and for the individualised examination of cases, standing out as blind spots in the Migration and Asylum Pact.

As emphasised in Resolution 2416 (2022) and by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Pact entails the risk of restricting access to international protection as well as breach the principle that procedural safeguards shall be guaranteed for migrants. The committee stressed the need for the Pact to be compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.

In this respect, the committee regretted that European solidarity seems to be merely conceived as an emergency mechanism given the significant reception and integration needs which, if unaddressed, may be conducive to insecurity for migrants and fuel distrust among States.

According to the parliamentarians, the voluntary solidarity mechanism has shown that taking States’ constraints into account is essential for solidarity to be functional. The arrival of Ukrainians fleeing the war has demonstrated that it was the availability of means allocated for the reception of people, rather than their actual number, which was making a difference. The Council of Europe called upon States to enhance European solidarity in the context of asylum and international protection in the Assembly Resolution 2487 (2023).

The Pact provides the occasion of sending a strong and pragmatic signal by identifying solidarity – between the authorities and towards migrants – as a lever for a migration and asylum policy respectful of the European Treaties as well as of the norms and values of the Council of Europe, says the declaration.