Today, the European Parliament will consider changes to the Dublin rules—the system that regulates how EU countries deal with asylum seekers.
The current rules mandate that the country in which a migrant first arrives is responsible for processing refugee applications. This process usually taking at least six months and imposes a significant financial burden on the receiving country.
This system collapsed in 2015, when over a million asylum seekers arrived, 80% of them in Greece, the world’s most indebted country. Unsurprisingly, Greek authorities thereby abdicated their responsibilities under the Dublin rules and allowed migrants to flock north via the Balkan route.
With backing from Germany, France, Italy, Greece and others, the reforms to be discussed today seek to more evenly distribute the migrant burden among the entire Union.
Not everyone agrees. Populist anti-immigration governments in Poland and Hungary rejected a similar temporary arrangement in 2015 and have dismissed the current reforms. While the pro-reform camp has enough support to institute the changes, doing so risks exacerbating already strained relations between the two countries.
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Simon is the founder of Foreign Brief who served as managing director from 2015 to 2021. A lawyer by training, Simon has worked as an analyst and adviser in the private sector and government. Simon’s desire to help clients understand global developments in a contextualised way underpinned the establishment of Foreign Brief. This aspiration remains the organisation’s driving principle.