The European Commission is planning to launch a so-called Migration Pact in the next few weeks that would bridge the gap between the major western states of the European Union and the Central European countries that have firmly rejected refugee quotas.
The plan has three main focusses. The first is on strengthening the EU’s external border by expanding Frontex, and re-equiping the existing border agency. The second is to aim for the greater efficiency of the repatriation system, which is notoriously inefficient and virtually voluntary. Only 36 percent of rejected asylum seekers return to their home countries. Both these policies will meet no resistance in Poland, Hungary, and other Central European states.
The Commission’s aim is to appear to meet the central European’s halfway in order to persuade them to take a share of refugees. The third part of the plan is therefore less appealing to them, which is to bind them to take agreed numbers of migrants in exchange for parts one and two.
However, based on their stance so far, it seems unlikely that Poland and Hungary will take even a small number of refugees, and the Commission has a built-in get out clause. The central Europeans will be invited to offer funds towards the cost of border protection or offer aid to poorer countries, especially in Africa.
Whether or not the plan will work only time will tell. But the European Union will have addressed the problem of finding a flexible solidarity model that will be accepted by both sides.
PHOTO: Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson leads a migration charm offensive