Crisis and force majeure Regulation

In “Promoting our European Way of Life”

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On 16 September 2020 Commission President von der Leyen announced in her State of the Union Address a New Pact on Asylum and Migration. As part of the Pact, the Commission unveiled on 23 September 2020 a proposal for a Regulation addressing situations of crisis and force majeure in the area of migration and asylum.  

Within the Solidarity Mechanism, the Crisis and force majeure Regulation proposal sets specific rules for its application in crisis situations, i.e. the exceptional mass influx of third-country nationals/stateless persons arriving irregularly in a Member State and threatening the functioning of a Member State’s asylum, reception or return system, or the risk of such a mass influx. It widens the scope of affected third-country nationals’ relocation to include international protection beneficiaries, irregular migrants, and vulnerable persons being granted immediate protection for up to one year, until the Member State has been determined that is responsible for examining the application under the Regulation on Asylum and Migration Management (AMMR). The proposal also contains shorter deadlines in comparison to usual procedures, when applicable in a crisis situation.

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) issued their opinions in April and May 2021. 

On 9 November 2020, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, Spain) was appointed as rapporteur. He presented his draft report to the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE Committee) on 30 November 2021. The rapporteur insisted on the need to stay as close as possible to the provisions of the Temporary Protection Directive, which the Crisis and force majeure Regulation will repeal, and to have solidarity between Member States as a rule instead of as an exception.

On 20 April 2023, the Parliament decided to start negotiations on the crisis and force majeure regulation with 419 votes in favour, 129 against and 30 abstentions.

The examination of the proposal in the Council’s Asylum Working Party started on 20 December 2022. An opinion of the Council Legal Service of February 2021 put into question the structure of the new pact on migration and asylum. The Commission, in its Communication from 12 January 2023 invited Parliament and Council to examine the crisis and force majeure proposal alongside the proposed Regulation to address situations of instrumentalisation in the field of migration, as both 'would end the need to resort to ad hoc measures'.

On 16 June 2023, the Council examined the regulation, which will also include provisions for responding to situations of instrumentalisation.

On 20 September 2023, the Members of the European Parliament’s Asylum Contact Group met with representatives of the Spanish Presidency and of the four Presidencies who signed up the 2022 Joint Roadmap. After noting that the efforts of the Presidency to reach a Council negotiating mandate on the Crisis Regulation are stalled, the Parliament announced that interinstitutional talks on Eurodac and Screening regulations are put on hold.

On 4 October 2023, during a meeting of the Council's permanent representatives committee, a negotiating mandate was reached on the Crisis and Force Majeure regulation, including in situations of instrumentalisation.

On 20 December, the European Parliament and the Spanish Presidency of the EU Council reached a political agreement on the pact, including on situations of crisis, force majeure and instrumentalisation of migrants. They agreed on the following:

  • Special rules for crisis situations (incl. instrumentalisation)- dedicated solidarity mechanism to support Member States in cases of exceptional influx of third-country nationals leading to the collapse of the national asylum system (including migrant instrumentalisation).
  • Upon Member State request, the Commission assesses the situation and adopts a decision establishing a crisis. The Commission then proposes to the Council solidarity measures and derogations, together with a recommendation on categories of persons who should be entitled to prima facie protection. The special solidarity contributions include relocation, targeted financial contributions or alternative measures.
  • Crisis situations can also trigger temporary derogations from the standard asylum procedures. This includes longer deadlines: in crisis situations, the registration of asylum applications could take up to 10 days, with the border procedure extended for both asylum and return border procedures by an additional six weeks. The use of asylum border procedure is also extended: in situations of mass influx, the threshold for the border procedure will apply to applicants with up to 50% recognition rate, whereas in instrumentalisation situations, the border procedure would be applied to all arrivals.

On 8 February 2024, the Council approved the provisional agreement of 20 December 2023.

On 14 February 2024, the LIBE committee of the Parliament approved the provisional agreement, with 37 votes in favor, 26 against and 4 abstentions. This vote now needs to be confirmed by the plenary.

References:

Author: Anita Orav, Members' Research Service, legislative-train@europarl.europa.eu

As of 20/02/2024.