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EU to tighten border procedures and share migrant responsibility

 The European Parliament approved on Wednesday a new Migration and Asylum Pact that will tighten border procedures and ask the European Union (EU) member states to share responsibility.

The adoption of the pact aimed to tackle irregular migration to the EU, strengthen the protection of the EU’s external borders and reform the European asylum system, the Parliament announced in a press release.

According to the new pact, migrants who do not meet the conditions to enter the EU will be subject to a pre-entry screening procedure, including identification, collecting of biometric data and health and security checks.

Asylum claims will be examined more quickly, including at the EU’s borders, and more effective repatriation would be implemented. Member states will also need to choose between taking responsibility for asylum applicants, making financial contributions or providing operational support.

“We must be the ones to decide who comes to the European Union and under what circumstances, not the smugglers and traffickers,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, applauding the pact’s adoption.

“With the Pact in place, we have the legal framework we need,” von der Leyen said, adding that tailored solutions would be introduced “on border management, the fight against smugglers, and returns.”

The Parliament said that once the pact is formally approved by the EU Council, the laws will enter into force after their publication and member states are expected to start applying the regulations in two years’ time.

Some 380,000 irregular border crossings were detected along the EU’s external borders last year, a 17-percent rise from a year earlier and the highest annual total since 2016, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) said in mid-January. ■

Famagusta Gazette