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EU doubles down on deterrence with new migration pact

An asylum and migration pact that has been in the works for nine years has finally been approved by the EU Parliament. The push began in 2015, when Europe experienced a surge of refugees escaping Syria's civil war. Since then, the EU's migration strategies – focused largely on deterrence – have been criticised for human rights violations, making migrant routes more dangerous, and contributing to more deaths. The pact, which is expected to receive full approval by the end of April, will be enforced in 2026. Under its new proposed rules, EU countries will be obligated to either admit migrants from peripheral countries or provide extra funding to the bloc. Among other things, the pact – which will be mandatory for all 27 EU countries – is also designed to: speed up the asylum process and repatriation of illegal migrants; cap asylum processing, forcibly returning to their home countries those with rejected requests at 12 weeks; and impose a toughened pre-entry screening procedure within seven days. Critics see it as an extension of the EU’s failed deterrence policies. These strategies have failed to achieve their goal of reducing migration, despite billions spent. For more on how they have also contributed to rising numbers of people taking dangerous routes and more deaths along the way, read our October 2023 analysis.

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