European leaders meet but agreement on migration appears elusive

European leaders meet but agreement on migration appears elusive

Today, EU leaders will begin two days of discussions on a wide range of topics, from security issues to Brexit.

1529451006_272637_1529504810_noticia_normal

Photo: Kai Foersterling/EFE

Today, EU leaders will begin two days of discussions on a wide range of topics, from security issues to Brexit.

But the summit will primarily focus on EU migration policy—particularly on reforming the rules that govern minimum standards for the treatment of all asylum seeker applications. While common rules are meant to govern this sensitive area, practice varies from one EU member to another.

It is unlikely that a sweeping new migration policy will be announced today as the bloc continues to frame the need for reform in general and broad terms. Such framing has created the perception that the bloc is not addressing the specific concerns of member states, like “security”, when in reality the problem appears to be centred on deadlock over a common approach.

Anti-migrant sentiment and policies, particularly over changing national demographics in countries like Hungary and Poland, are examples of this. Reformulating existing EU migrant policy faces a fundamental obstacle, as individual governments have taken independent initiatives to change the so-called “minimum standards” that form the core of EU policy.

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