EU to announce long-awaited reform plan to address migration crisis

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will today present a long-awaited reform plan to handle the bloc’s migration crisis.

Europes refugee crisis

Photo: Carlo Hermann/AFP/Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will today present a long-awaited reform plan to handle the bloc’s migration crisis.

The announcement comes in the wake of a fire that destroyed the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, leaving 12,000 migrants without shelter. Supporters of von der Leyen’s plan hope that the momentum caused by the disaster will help to push forward her amendments to current EU migration policy. Her proposal will make it easier for migrants to apply for asylum in northern EU states rather than frontline countries, such as Greece and Italy.

However, the approval of an EU-wide migration program by 27 politically-variant member states is rather unlikely. The proposal is likely to fall victim to opposition from right-wing nationalist leaders such as Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Poland’s Andrzej Duda, as has been the case in the past. Still, the new program may fare better than its predecessor, which encouraged origin countries to facilitate migrants’ return through leveraging foreign investment and trade deals.

Although migration is a hot-button topic due to the recent fires, the EU is unlikely to prioritise it should economic issues resulting from COVID-19-related restrictions persist. Yet, if the EU fails again to institute a cohesive migration policy, it risks further internal division as weaker frontline countries will remain disproportionately affected by the brunt of the migrant crisis amidst an uneven economic recovery.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.