The Future of Migration and Asylum to Europe
How would the New Pact on Migration and Asylum impact Europe? – Impact Assessment for the European Parliament
The situation for refuge-seeking individuals in the EU has been and continues to be alarming. Therefore, the European Commission presented a “New Pact on Migration and Asylum” in September 2020, intending to address structural shortcomings within the reception, asylum, and return systems in the EU Member States. The European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) has therefore entrusted Ecorys with the execution of an impact assessment study.
The impact assessment focuses on the main proposed changes implied by the European Commission’s New Pact, with a particular focus on the following four proposals: 1) Asylum and Migration Management Regulation (RAMM); 2) Crisis and Force Majeure Regulation; 3) Amended Asylum Procedure Regulation (APR); and 4) Screening Regulation. The horizontal substitute impact assessment critically assesses the ‘system’ and underlying logic of the proposed New Pact to analyse how the four Commission proposals would work and interact in practice. The impact assessment also assesses whether and to what extent the proposed New Pact addresses the identified shortcomings and implementational problems of the current EU asylum and migration law and policy. Moreover, the impact assessment identifies and assesses the expected impacts on fundamental rights, as well as economic, social and territorial impacts of the proposed New Pact.
The impact assessment methodology taken from the Commission’s 2017 Better Regulation Guidelines and Better Regulation Toolbox was applied to assess the New Pact’s impact in terms of social, fundamental rights, as well as economic and territorial impact. For the economic analysis, a standard cost model approach was adopted to assess the potential costs and benefits associated with the New Pact. Data collection methods included large-scale desk research and document as well as literature review, in-depth stakeholder consultations, and six country case studies (Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden). The research team held over 30 semi-structured interviews with and collected written inputs from experts of migratory affairs, asylum practitioners, representatives of the European Commission and other relevant agencies, national Member State authorities, and civil society representatives.
Based on the above-mentioned data and methodology, the research team concluded that the Commission’s identified problems and issues are seen as underlying drivers of the current shortcomings of the refugee situation lacked clarity and proposed solutions were not embedded in a solid evidence-based solution-finding process. The robustness of the logical chain from a problem, to objective, to proposed measures underpinning the new pact was thus insufficient. Furthermore, the defined objectives of the pact were missing clear-cut evaluation criteria. Additionally, the proposed screening regulation and its application within the territory of the Member States lacked a sufficient legal basis and potential issues with the suggested pre-entry screening were voiced by many sources. Therefore, the expected impacts of the New Pact were identified mostly in the areas of fundamental rights and territorial dimensions. Doubts remain about the effectiveness of the proposed pact in addressing the existent and identified issues at hand.