EU Prepares New Plan to Settle Disputes Over Migrants

Mandatory migrant quotas are politically dead, so the question now is whether the EU has the courage to discuss the new plan proposed by the Estonian presidency.

At the upcoming EU summit, leaders won’t discuss a new migration quota plan sketched by the Estonia EU presidency despite the issue's burning nature in Europe, Brussels media reports. At a time when the migration question divides East and West Europe so deeply, this a major blow for European leaders.

A badly needed plan delayed

The new plan would give a bigger role to prevention through being able to mitigate sudden major inflows of refugees and asylum seekers. The Estonians would give the European Commission the lead role in how many asylum seekers to distribute to each state. The distribution system would calculate the wealth, size and population of countries.

Furthermore, in case of high inflow, an early warning system would require member states to provide other forms of help on top of taking in the asylum seekers. The proposal says the relocation of asylum seekers between countries would only take place if the involved sides both agree voluntarily.

Political deadlock

According to the agenda of the December EU summit, there will indeed be discussions on migration, but, according to diplomatic sources talking to EUobserver, they won’t go into the details of the Estonian proposal. The Baltic country, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, is attempting to break a political deadlock as part of a solution to the ongoing 'Dublin Regulation' reform.

The mission is nothing less than to reconcile the issues facing countries like Italy and Greece, which bear the majority of arrivals from across the Mediterranean, and eastern states fiercely opposing mandatory quotas to take in immigrants.

So far, the EU failed to find a compromise between governments who complain about unfair burdens. Under the current asylum rules, claims must be handled in the country where people enter the EU.

Earlier in November, the European Parliament presented its own position, proposing the mandatory relocation of asylum seekers. However, the European Council president, Donald Tusk, said back in October that obligatory migrant quotas have no future. At the last summit in October, leaders gave themselves until June 2018 to make a final decision. We are eager to see well-developed and workable solutions.