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An EU Migration Pact, the MED7 Summit to ease tensions in the Mediterranean, and worrying cuts in the EU budget for the coming years… Want to know more? Read what follows!

The new Pact on Migration and Asylum: a “Fresh Start” for human rights violations

The new EU’s migration management initiative, called ‘Pact on Migration and Asylum’, was published by the European Commission on 23 September 2020. The Pact will seek to create “a more effective, fair and comprehensive framework for managing asylum and migration in the EU.” In this light, it will cover all internal and external aspects of migration: cooperation with origin and transit countries, external borders management, search and rescue operations, first reception and secondary movements, and the establishment of a common return system. The goal is to strengthen the functioning of the Schengen area and to develop a solidarity mechanism between the Member States. However, EuroMed Rights fears this pact will only worsen the current situation by externalising border management and increasing returns, reinforcing an approach which criminalises and dehumanises migrants and refugees

A summit to ease tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

On 10 September 2020, the Heads of State and Government of Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain met in Ajaccio for the Seventh Summit of the Southern EU countries (MED7). In a joint statement, they called on the EU Member States to reinforce the Euro-Mediterranean relationship and urged the EU to do its utmost effort to contribute to the stabilisation of the Mediterranean region. The statement addresses peace and stability in the region, referring to Libya, Lebanon, the Middle East peace process and the current tensions between Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. It further expresses hope to build a Europe of solidarity through the upcoming abovementioned ‘Pact on Migration and Asylum’.

Less funding for human rights in the next EU budget?

Over the coming months, the EU leaders will continue negotiating the EU’s next seven-year budget (2021-2027). In its latest proposal of 21 July 2020, the European Council envisaged reducing the external action budget from €80 billion to €70.8 billion. This proposal, which would impact the budget dedicated to human rights and democracy worldwide, has raised concerns among civil society organisations at a time when human rights, democracy and equality face unprecedented pressure, further compounded by the COVID-19 crisis. An NGO letter was sent to the European Parliament to call on it to weigh in for an increased budget if the EU wants to fully live up to its commitment to protect and promote human rights and democracy worldwide.