Polish and Hungarian objections to the new migration pact of the member states of the European Union are becoming vociferous at the informal summit of the European Council, which is being held on Friday October 6 in Granada, in the south of Spain. Two days after a key agreement between member states on the distribution of migrant care between European countries, Polish and Hungarian leaders expressed their fierce opposition to the reform of the European migration system.

“If you are legally violated, forced to accept something you don’t like, how is it possible to have a compromise, an agreement? It’s impossible,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban upon his arrival. “We are not afraid of the diktats that come from Brussels and Berlin,” thundered his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, insisting on his refusal to have a system of “distribution of illegal migrants” imposed on him. ten days of legislative elections in Poland which promise to be close.

On Wednesday, the representatives of the Twenty-Seven ended up agreeing on a regulation setting up a compulsory solidarity mechanism between Member States in the event that one of them is faced with an “exceptional situation” linked to “massive” arrivals of migrants at its borders. The text, which also provides for a regime derogating from traditional asylum procedures, less protective for migrants, had to be the subject of a compromise to overcome German and Italian reluctance. This regulation, the last piece of the European pact on migration and asylum which must still be the subject of negotiations with the European Parliament, was approved by the Member States by qualified majority as the treaties provide, and not by unanimity as demanded by Poland and Hungary, who both voted against the text, while Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic abstained.

A declaration on migration hardened as it was prepared

These disagreements could thwart a joint declaration on migration, despite the fact that it has been hardened over the course of its preparation. The draft notably highlights the need to deal with irregular immigration “immediately and decisively” and to “intensify returns” of irregular migrants. It also affirms the EU’s determination to establish “mutually beneficial global partnerships with countries of origin and transit”, such as the one signed in July with Tunisia in order to reduce arrivals of migrants from this country.

The subject of immigration, one of the thorniest among the Twenty-Seven, was put on the agenda of this summit following the arrival in mid-September on the Italian island of Lampedusa of more than 7 000 migrants, mainly from sub-Saharan Africa, who had made the crossing from Tunisia aboard makeshift boats.