Migration policy: Council agrees mandate on EU law dealing with crisis situations

Today, EU member states’ representatives reached an agreement on the final component of a common European asylum and migration policy. At a meeting of the Council’s permanent representatives committee, member states sealed their negotiating mandate on a regulation on crisis situations, including instrumentalisation of migration, and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum. This position will form the basis of negotiations between the Council presidency and the European Parliament.

Today we have achieved a huge step forward on a critical issue for the future of the EU. With today’s agreement we are now in a better position to reach an agreement on the entire asylum and migration pact with the European Parliament by the end of this semester.

The new law establishes the framework that would allow member states to address situations of crisis in the field of asylum and migration by adjusting certain rules, for instance concerning the registration of asylum applications or the asylum border procedure. These countries would also be able to request solidarity and support measures from the EU and its member states.

Exceptional measures in crisis situations

In a situation of crisis or force majeure, member states may be authorised to apply specific rules concerning the asylum and the return procedure. In this sense, among other measures, registration of applications for international protection may be completed no later than four weeks after they are made, easing the burden on overstrained national administrations.

Solidarity with countries facing a crisis situation

A member state that is facing a crisis situation may request solidarity contributions from other EU countries. These contributions can take the form of:

  • the relocation of asylum seekers or beneficiaries of international protection from the member state in a crisis situation to contributing member states
  • responsibility offsets, i.e. the supporting member state would take over the responsibility to examine asylum claims with a view to relief the member state that finds itself in a crisis situation
  • financial contributions or alternative solidarity measures

These exceptional measures and this solidarity support require the authorisation from the Council in accordance with the principles of necessity and proportionality and in full compliance with fundamental rights of third-country nationals and stateless persons.

Background and next steps

The regulation addressing crisis situation and force majeure in the field of migration and asylum is part of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by the Commission on 23 September 2020. The pact consists of a set of proposals to reform EU migration and asylum rules. Other landmark proposals in addition to the crisis regulation include the asylum and migration management regulation and the asylum procedure regulation.