Blog series: EU New Pact on Migration and Asylum (IV)

The New Pact on Migration and Asylum and the recommendations of the EU Commission on legal pathways to protection in the European Union

By Tihomir Sabchev

Source: Sebastien Bertrand through Flickr

At the end of September 2020, the European Commission adopted its
New Pact on Migration and Asylum. Among other objectives, the Pact aims at promoting sustainable and safe legal pathways for people in need of international protection. This blog outlines the main aspects of the Commission’s recommendations in this regard. 

It should be noted from the very beginning, that each Member State has the right to determine the volume of admission for people from third countries. In other words, the Commission cannot oblige Member States to admit people in need of international protection, but it can only try to influence their decisions through recommendations, funding, capacity building, coordination of existing efforts, etc. On the basis such soft instruments, the Commission included in the recently published Pact its “Recommendations on Legal Pathways to Protection in the EU”, focusing on the promotion of three main channels of admission of people in need of protection: resettlement, humanitarian admission and complementary pathways

Local remedies for the EU’s protracted migration policy crisis

Painting by the children of the 13th Primary School in Trikala (Greece), which won the 1st prize in the contest 'Opening hearts and minds to refugees' organised by UNESCO Associated Schools Network. Source: Municipality of Trikala


Tihomir Sabchev

Utrecht University/University College Roosevelt

In the context of recent failures to protect refugees’ human rights, how can EU Member States develop a more effective approach to manage the consequences of forced migration?

In the very beginning of his book ‘The Global Migration Crisis: Challenge to States and Human Rights’, the political scientist Myron Weiner notes that “the number of people fleeing to escape violence or persecution, to find employment, or to improve their own lives and those of their family members is greater than it has ever been” (pp. 1-2). The author describes some of the major migration policy changes in Europe in light of the “recent massive influx of migrants and refugees from the east” (p. 47). More concretely, he argues that “with the rise of antimigrant right-wing parties […], European governments have virtually halted migration and made entry difficult for refugees from Third World countries” (p. 145).