Robert Jenrick is right: the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum is ‘not worth the paper it’s written on’. The former immigration minister, who resigned earlier this month, is not the first European politician to rubbish the treaty, which was unveiled on Wednesday with much fanfare. Jordan Bardella, the president of the National Rally in France, said that his party will ‘oppose with all our strength this mad project of organised submersion of Europe’.
The Pact has been years in the making and according to Brussels involved intense discussions between the 27 Member States. When Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced details of the deal, she boasted that it ‘means that Europeans will decide who comes to the EU and who can stay, not the smugglers. It means protecting those in need’.
The Italian government, who this year have seen over 150,000 migrants land on their shores – an increase of over 50,000 on 2022 – also expressed their satisfaction with the pact. Foreign minister Antonio Tajani said Europe and Italy could now ‘count on new rules to manage migratory flows and to combat human traffickers’.
But there has been no comment from Giorgia Meloni. Italy’s PM is reportedly recovering from illness but she may also not wish to associate herself with a treaty that will only encourage mass migration to Europe.
The problem is that the ‘new rules’ deal only with what in EU jargon is known as ‘internal migration’; the Pact does nothing to tackle the real challenge of ‘external migration’ – stopping the boats in the first place. As Jenrick puts it, because Brussels have ‘resigned themselves to mass illegal migration, the EU Commission is now fixated on treating the symptoms of the problem, not delivering the cure.’
The Pact is comprised of five interlinked pieces of legislation that define how the EU will receive, manage and disperse the irregular arrival of migrants.