EU interior ministers discuss migration reform amid anti-immigrant sentiment

EU interior ministers discuss migration reform amid anti-immigrant sentiment

European heavyweights France and Germany are pushing to change the Dublin rules to distribute refugees more evenly across the Union.

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Photo: Reuters/Bensch

Today, the interior ministers of EU member states will convene to discuss issues facing the bloc, among these being the contentious Dublin rule.

The policy, which mandates that refugees file for asylum in the EU country where they first arrive, was originally enacted to prevent applications to multiple member-states. However, substantially increased waves of migration have shifted a great burden on Southern European countries, such as Italy, which has seen more than 700,000 refugees land on its shore since 2013.

Italy’s new populist government—which faces a confidence vote on Tuesday and Wednesday—is threatening to deport scores of migrants. Meanwhile, European heavyweights France and Germany are pushing to change the Dublin rules to distribute refugees more evenly across the Union. However, the rise of anti-immigration governments in Poland, Hungary and Austria may thwart any such reform.

Dissent from these countries will likely prolong negotiations, with Brussels not wanting to risk alienating Central Europe any further. If a resolution is not reached, the status quo’s chaotic system will continue or possibly intensify for countries like Greece and Spain as Italy threatens massive expulsions.

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