At the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council yesterday, Luxembourg’s minister of foreign and European affairs, Jean Asselborn, implored leaders to move forward on reform of the Common European Asylum policy. 

In particular, the Council reviewed the work on the reform of the Common European Asylum System, focusing in particular on efforts to implement the principles of responsibility and solidarity.

"This is the 10th round table on solidarity and unfortunately I do not think it is the last one," said Minister Asselborn, saying that "if the debate does not move forward, we will find a worsening of the situation in Italy in particular, where the number of asylum seekers increases considerably and while the risk exists that other roads open”, he said. 

Noting that “we are all in favour of helping the front-line member states, but we are not yet entirely in agreement on the means to be implemented", Asselborn insisted on the need for balances at several levels. 

He developed by explaining on the one hand that "between external action and internal action, the resettlement effort must be superior to relocation. The prospects of migrants should not begin once they have arrived irregularly in Europe, we must favour those who opt for legal access routes "and secondly" between the needs of the front-line member states and their capacity to contribute Of the other member states, the interest of alternative forms to relocation is to be able to act on several fronts. For this to happen, the use of alternative measures must remain attractive for those Member States which wish to engage in a substitutionary approach".

Minister Asselborn went on to point out that "our migration policy is a common good, which means that we must promote a consensual approach that leads to a common position", while reminding its counterparts that "since 2015, we are turning Around the solidarity approach to the burden-sharing of applicants for international protection who are or are arriving in the EU. While in fact we continue to stutter on this subject, the fronts harden, time passes and the immobilism has settled down to the detriment of the credibility of our values".

Finally, the minister recalled the citizens' concern about the stabilisation of the Schengen system. "For the citizens of the EU, Schengen is one of the most important achievements of our Union and beyond. The collapse of Schengen is tantamount to destroying the Europe of citizens”.

Image: Jean Asselborn with Commissaire Avramopoulos at the JHAC this week.