The European Commission is to propose a long-awaited overhaul of the European Union’s migration and asylum system on Wednesday.This is likely to set off an explosive debate over what is one of the bloc’s most politically sensitive issues.
The EU’s migration system has come under increasing pressure in recent years, with bottlenecks forming at external borders.
Under current EU rules, the country where people first generally arrive has to process their asylum claims.
This means countries with external borders carry a disproportionate burden.
While some countries argue for a mechanism to automatically redistribute asylum seekers, others – such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Austria – strongly oppose this.
Rights activists are concerned that the new measures could see a tightening of asylum rules, including increased detentions at the EU’s borders.
With the proposals set to cause fights between the EU countries, it is far from certain that they will be approved by the EU leaders and European Parliament.
Previous attempts have failed.
According to the commission’s document registry, the EU executive body is to propose a set of new and amended regulations, including on the screening of asylum seekers and on crisis situations.
In the wake of the disastrous fire, earlier this month, at the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, which hosted some 12,000 people, the commission is also expected to propose a solidarity mechanism for crisis moments.
The commission has previously highlighted that solidarity can mean not just taking migrants in, but also, for example, sending medical supplies.