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“EU Law Approved by MEPs Aims to Halt Refugee Influx into Europe”

Brussels: MEPs have endorsed a pivotal EU legislation aimed at curbing illegal immigration into member states, with just two months remaining before the upcoming elections.

The legislation streamlines the decision-making process concerning immigrants and imposes restrictions on unrestricted entry into member states. Despite opposition from countries like Poland, MEPs passed the law, which includes provisions for relocating refugees among member countries, a concern particularly for Poland. Following eight years of deliberations and controversies, MEPs voted in favour of the law.

Implementation of the law is expected to take two years; thus, gradual changes are anticipated rather than immediate impact.

During the vote, protests erupted in the gallery, with chants against the decision. Human rights groups also voiced criticism against the new law.

The EU’s Political Manoeuvre

The EU has faced mounting pressure, with the rise of far-right political factions exploiting migration concerns to gain traction in the European Parliament elections. This prompted the introduction of the law.

The legislation primarily targets reducing illegal immigration from the Middle East and Africa, while aiming to expedite border control and asylum processing within six months.

The far-right has accused the EU of adopting a lenient stance on immigration, leveraging the issue for political gain. The decisive legislation by the EU Parliament is seen as a measure to counter this narrative. According to the UN, over 46,000 individuals have arrived in the EU this year, with an estimated 400 fatalities among migrants crossing the sea.

Eight Years of Endeavour

Migration surged as a prominent issue in 2015, marked by the arrival of a million refugees, including those from Syria. Despite subsequent tightening of border and asylum regulations by the EU, refugee inflows persisted.

Countries like Italy and Greece bore the brunt of the influx, sparking heated debates within the EU. The burden-sharing obligations of countries like Italy, coupled with the assistance from affluent destinations like Germany, became contentious aspects of the legislation.

Mitigating Criticism with New Legislation

Eurosceptic and far-right parties, alongside anti-immigration sentiments, have lambasted the EU for its perceived inaction on immigration. Conversely, left-wing factions and human rights activists have opposed certain aspects of the legislation.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson emphasised the law’s significance in safeguarding EU borders and protecting refugees.

Valerie Hayer, leader of the Liberal Party, advocated for collaborative efforts to reform immigration policies responsibly, punishing human rights violations while enforcing the law.

Human Rights Concerns

Critics argue that the law, permitting the detention of children and providing member states with the option to refuse refugees, violates human rights principles.

Welcoming the Law

Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council, praised the legislation for demonstrating greater solidarity with countries grappling with migration pressures, particularly Greece and Italy. He hailed the introduction of a six-month asylum procedure time limit, a long-standing demand.

Poland’s Opposition

Poland vehemently opposes the EU’s plan to redistribute migrants. Prime Minister Donald Tusk affirmed Poland’s resistance to the new immigration system, despite majority support among member states.

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