UNHCR Calls on Belgium & Hungary to Finalise Migration Pact for Asylum Protection

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged Hungary and Belgium to finalise the Migration Asylum Pact in order to ensure the adequate implementation of norms protecting the human rights of those seeking asylum in European Union countries.

UNHCRโ€™s call comes after both countries will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union this year: Belgium in the first half (from January until June) and Hungary in the second half (July until December), SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Through a press release, the UNHCR emphasised the importance of ensuring the correct implementation of reforms aimed at safeguarding the rights and protection of those seeking asylum within the EU.

The UNHCR hopes that this Pact will be a step in the right direction to implement precisely this aspect, and thereby calls on the EU Presidencies to mobilise the necessary political will as the Pact enters its final and crucial phase and calls on all Member States to act with courage in the interest of refugees.

UNHCR representative for EU Affairs, Gonzalo Vargas Llosa

Admitting that migration is complex, in September 2020, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen proposed a new EU Pact that would establish clear rules that ensure all EU countries share the same responsibility when it comes to migration as part of efforts to better manage the migration situation.

After three years of negotiations, on December 20, 2023, the European Parliament and Council reached a political agreement on the Pact on Migration and Asylumwith the agreement consisting of the following five key proposals of the Pact:

  • Screening Regulation
  • Eurodac Regulation
  • Asylum Procedures Regulation
  • Asylum Migration Management Regulation
  • Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation

Welcoming the political agreement reached by Parliament and Council, President Ursula von der Leyen back then said that Europe is a strong community and capable of finding great answers to great challenges.

Once the European Parliament and Council officially approve these proposals, the essential elements of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum will be established. Then, detailed laws will be adopted, and the Commission will assist Member States in implementing new rules in their national legislation.

The UNHCR considers the Migration and Asylum Pact to be a potential cornerstone for creating a well-coordinated worldwide approach to asylum and migration within the bloc.

However, the agency emphasises the need to implement the Pact with sufficient safeguards to ensure its effectiveness, according to a report from InfoMigrants.

Dangerous practices, such as refusing access to the territory and rejecting people, cannot continue.

UNHCR

The figures provided by the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex revealed that in 2023, the number of irregular border crossings into the EU was the highest recorded since 2016.

Frontexโ€™s figures revealed that in the first 11 months of last year, a total of 355,300 irregular border crossings were detected at the EUโ€™s main migratory routes, surpassing the entire total for 2022.

The Central Mediterranean was the most used route for migration, with over 152,200 detections reported by national authorities in the first 11 months of last year. This marks the highest total on this route for this period since 2016.

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