MEPs approve new EU rules to respond to migratory crises 


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  • A crisis entails mass arrivals of migrants or asylum-seekers that block a national asylum system 
  • Rules to also cover the instrumentalisation of migrants by third-countries or hostile non-state actors to destabilise the EU 
  • Possible derogation of the standard asylum procedures 

The EU response in the case of a migration and asylum crisis should be based on reinforced solidarity and support to the member states in need.

The new rules endorsed today by the MEPs with 301 votes in favour, 272 against and 46 abstentions will apply in exceptional situations of the mass arrival of third-country nationals or stateless persons by land, air or sea, including persons disembarked following search and rescue operations. To be considered a crisis, the situation must render the asylum, reception, child protection services, or the return system of a given member state non-functional, and may also have serious consequences for the functioning of the common EU asylum system.

The rules would also apply to situations when a third country or hostile non-state actor encourages or facilitates the movement of third country nationals and stateless persons to the EU’s external borders or to a member state for the purposes of destabilising the country. Humanitarian aid operations should not be considered as a case of instrumentalisation when there is no aim to destabilise the EU or a member state.

Decision-making and solidarity measures

When faced with a crisis, the concerned member state will have to make a reasoned request to the Commission, that will assess the situation within two weeks and adopt a decision on the presence or otherwise of a crisis situation. It will also make a proposal to the Council on solidarity measures and derogations, together with a recommendation establishing the categories of persons who should be entitled to prima facie protection.

The new rules foresee a predictable and permanent system of solidarity in which all member states must contribute to support the member state in crisis. Among the possible solidarity measures to address a specific crisis, a member state can propose to the Commission to opt for the relocation of asylum applicants and targeted financial contributions or alternative measures.

Certain categories of people –such as applicants coming from a specific country of origin - may be identified as entitled to prima facie protection, i.e. authorities would have to prioritise the examination of their application because they are likely to be well-founded and to ensure the swift conclusion of their application.


In crisis situations, the registration of asylum applications could take up to 4 weeks, with the border procedure extended for both asylum and return border procedures by an additional six weeks each. In situations of mass influx, the threshold for the border procedure can be adapted either upwards or downwards. In instrumentalisation situations, after an individual assessment, vulnerable persons and families with children under 12 years could be excluded from the border procedure.


Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), rapporteur and chair of the Civil Liberties committee, said: " After years in the making, we have delivered long-term reforms on migration and asylum. This clearly represents a step forward the unsatisfactory and untenable situation we have now. With the Crisis regulation, we will finally have a European response cushion to approach migration challenges through meaningful solidarity. Moreover, Member States will be obliged to apply common rules and safeguards for the applicants’ fundamental rights.”

Next steps

The new rules have to now formally be approved by the Council. The regulations will enter into force twenty days after publication in the EU Official Journal and will start applying two years after.

The legislation is part of the wider revamp of the EU’s common asylum and migration rules, on which Parliament voted today. You can find more information here.