Diplomatic sources confirmed that representatives of EU member states agreed on the final form of the migration package on Thursday. As the Czech government previously announced, the Czech people did not vote. The bloc's position agreed today is final, but the legislation still needs to be formally approved by the European Parliament, most likely at its plenary session in April.
The European Parliament and negotiators from EU member states agreed on the European bloc's new migration and asylum rules last December after years of failed compromises. Among other things, the series of standards calls for more effective checks on migrants and faster returns of failed asylum seekers to their countries of origin. It also establishes that the countries of the Union overwhelmed by migration pressure will receive a portion of the migrants or be assisted by others, either financially or materially.
After the Spanish presidency, the Belgian presidency took over in January this year and began work on finalizing individual legislative texts. Politico reported that as of Wednesday evening, the ambassadors of the four EU countries had not yet received all the texts, so they could not confirm whether they would support the package. It is not known how individual countries voted. Hungary and Poland, however, have previously opposed the migration package in particular.
The Czech government announced after its meeting on Wednesday that it had abstained from voting on the Czech Republic's migration deal. According to Prague, the new plan is worse than the one the Czech Republic took part in negotiations with during its presidency, as Transport Minister Martin Kupka said. According to Kupka, bureaucracy has increased in the new program. “It is very important that the Czech Republic obtains such an agreement, which enables an effective withdrawal policy and secure protection of external borders,” he said. According to him, after the changes resulting from the negotiations with the European Parliament, the proposal that Prague considered good went away.
The migration package contains several legislative proposals. Among them, for example, the Screening Regulation, which introduces mandatory detailed checks of persons at the external borders of the Union. Also included in the package is an amendment to the Reception Decree regulating the conditions for accepting asylum seekers or an amendment to the Eligibility Regulation regulating the conditions a person must meet to receive international protection. Asylum applications must be processed quickly, with a first decision within six months.
The most discussed and important part of this package is the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (known as AMMR), which introduces uniformity rules between Member States.
Representatives of EU member states agreed in early October last year on the last part of the migration package, the so-called crisis management. Then, negotiations began in what are precisely called inquiries, that is, between the representatives of the then Spanish President, the European Parliament and the European Commission.
The Minister of the Interior of the Czech Republic, Vaide Ragusan, has repeatedly emphasized that, for the Czech Republic, the standards clearly define three ways of solidarity with states imposed by immigration, each of which should have the same value. Which method it chooses depends on the given state, he added.
“The first form of solidarity, rejected as mandatory for a long time and not mandatory in the June proposal, is the relocation of migrants. Then there is financial solidarity and, of course, technical and logistical assistance to the country, which is currently there. It is affected by a serious wave of migration,” he explained in Brussels at the beginning of December last year in Austria. .
Interior ministers have already reached an agreement on two problematic points of migration reform, among them the question of unity mentioned above, already at their meeting last June. An exemption from the obligation to provide financial assistance to overburdened southern European countries was negotiated at the time for countries fundamentally affected by another type of migration. For the Czech Republic, these are refugees from Ukraine.