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Asylum Reforms Derailed, as EU Looks to North Africa

Disagreements over the EU’s internal asylum reforms remained entrenched after the EU summit on Thursday (18 October) – with notions of solidarity broadly dismissed as leaders press ahead to offshore migration with the supposed help of north African states. The Brussels summit, where heads of state and government meet to thrash out solutions, failed to reach any agreement on long outstanding issues over the key EU asylum reforms that seek to better manage administrative bottlenecks and their adjoining political headaches.

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani described the lack of action as a “gift to populists and europhobes”, demanding a change to the consensus approach among EU states on decisions related to the subject. “We must not be hostages to consensus at all costs: we must vote by majority,” he complained. The European parliament has longed reached their position on the most contentious aspect of the asylum reforms – known as the ‘Dublin’ regulation – which determines who is responsible for processing applications for international protection.  EU states remain bitterly divided over Dublin and its system to distribute people in need of international protection.

Meanwhile, efforts to tease out an agreement on an handful of other less contentious asylum bills also failed to reach a consensus.  Other big ideas fell flat, including a decision over the summer to set up centres to distribute migrants rescued at sea or having countries rimming the Mediterranean take them in. “To be honest, we did not achieve much progress since end of June,” confirmed Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte. EU council president Donald Tusk gave migration short shrift, announcing only their determination to further stem irregular flows.

Read more: Nikolaj Nielsen, EU Observer,

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