France accepts the migration pact of the European Commission

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PARISFrench interior ministers on Thursday issued a joint press release saying they support a proposal presented by the European Commission on a migration pact for asylum seekers coming to Europe.

The European Commission met on Wednesday to draft a reform of migration policy which proposes a “compulsory solidarity mechanism”. The proposal suggests dropping a current contested rule that the country where migrants arrive first should bear the burden of asylum claims.

The Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, alongside the Minister of Citizenship Marlene Schiappa and the Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune approved the proposal for a more shared solidarity for asylum seekers on the continent .

The project stipulates that the 27 Member States share responsibility for migrants crossing the Mediterranean. If a member country cannot accept migrants on a voluntary basis, then it will take responsibility for returning those who are not eligible for asylum to their respective countries of origin.

The second part of the pact includes an integrated border procedure including pre-entry control for all those crossing the EU’s external borders.

With today’s press release, France officially accepts to participate in the pact.

“This reform is necessary and urgent. Each Member State must take its share of the common effort, whether through relocations or exceptionally other types of compulsory contributions, ”said the ministers.

Migration to Europe has been a major problem in recent years, especially for some countries like Italy, Greece, Malta and Spain. Located closest to war-torn countries in Africa and the Middle East, seaside nations are more often than not the first stop on a journey across the Mediterranean for those fleeing persecution.

France, although further away than its European neighbors, has also taken in refugees and has encountered major problems with non-settled migrants in recent years.

Although European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen spoke harshly about the new pact, saying it was not about ‘whether’ a member country could contribute but ‘how’, some others resisted to jump on the bandwagon, like Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

“It will not work like that,” he said of compulsory quotas to accommodate refugees in all EU countries. “We find that distribution in Europe has failed and many states are rejecting it.”
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