An EU migration pact agreed, but at what cost?

Published: 20th December 2023

Today, EU negotiators have reached a long-awaited political agreement on the EU migration pact.  

In response, Stephanie Pope, Oxfam EU migration expert, said:

“As we hear EU statements celebrating this deal, the question is, at what cost?

“What has been agreed is not better - in many ways, it is far worse. The EU missed the opportunity to finally agree on better responsibility-sharing and solidarity rules. Instead, they agreed on more detention, including of children and families in prison-like centres. They have also slammed the door on those seeking asylum with substandard procedures, fast-tracked deportation and gambled with people's lives with increased risks of refoulement. This deal also relies on paying non-EU countries to do the EU's bidding. It is a dangerous dismantling of the key principles of human rights and refugee law.”

Notes to editors

Oxfam calls on the EU and European countries to work together to create an asylum system that works. Oxfam wants the EU to: 

  • Make better rules to share the responsibility of people arriving in Europe fairly. The EU must reform Dublin (first country of entry rule) and create a mandatory solidarity mechanism prioritising relocation to ensure there is support in cases of increased arrivals. EU countries should not be allowed to pay to keep people out. 
  • Invest in better asylum systems. This means ensuring that asylum centres are open and in good condition, that there is enough staff, that people can go to doctors, and that children can go to school; secondly, countries need to increase their capacity to process asylum applications through adequate staff and administration.
  • Create safe and regular routes to Europe so that people do not have to risk their lives to seek safety and a proper search and rescue mechanism to stop the deaths at sea.

Contact information

JadeTenwick I Brussels, Belgium| | mobile +32 473 562260| WhatsApp only +32 484 81 22 94    

Julia Manresa | Brussels, Belgium || mobile +32 473 87 44 26| WhatsApp only +32 479 56 18 12  

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