Blog series: EU New Pact on Migration and Asylum (II)

Third country cooperation in the EU New Pact on Migration and Asylum

By Annick Pijnenburg and Lynn Hillary 

Source: David Watkis

One of the aims of the EU New Pact on Migration and Asylum (hereafter: Pact) is to reduce unsafe and irregular migration routes. In that respect, the European Commission rightly notes that the internal and external dimension of migration are inextricably linked. It is therefore unsurprising that cooperation with third countries forms an important element of the new proposals that constitute the Pact. Section 6 of the Commission’s Communication, which is titled ‘Working with our international partners’, covers almost a third of the total document. Indeed, while the Pact is a compromise regarding the Common European Asylum System (hereafter: CEAS), i.e. the internal dimension of migration, this is not completely true for the Pact’s elements on cooperation with third countries, and externalisation more generally. Here, the Member States of the EU seem to be very much in unison. It has been argued this is the case because external migration management is focused on deterrence, thereby decreasing the number of migrants that any Member State is responsible for. In other words, if the CEAS were a well-functioning system, there would be no need to rely as heavily on externalisation as is the case in the current proposals.


Blog series: EU New Pact on Migration and Asylum

Blog series: EU New Pact on Migration and Asylum

Introductory blog

By Lynn Hillary
    Credits: By EmDee - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Dear reader of Human Rights Here,

In September 2020, the European Commission unveiled the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, a series of long-awaited measures to reform the EU migration regime. On November 23rd the Migration & Borders Working Group of the NNHRR gathered with migration scholars of Tilburg University to discuss several aspects of the EU New Pact.

The pact aims to ‘rebuild trust between Member States and to restore citizens' confidence in our capacity to manage migration as a Union.’ Commission President von der Leyen also stressed that ‘[i]t is now time to rise to the challenge to manage migration jointly, with the right balance between solidarity and responsibility.’


Tightrope dancing: Judicial attitudes towards Dublin transfers to Greece. A study of Dutch and Belgian case law

Photo credits: Krzysztof Hepner on Unsplash

Lynn Hillary

Open University of the Netherlands


Alongside the current discussion on the relocation of unaccompanied minor migrants from Greece to other EU Member States, another dialogue is ongoing: restarting ‘Dublin transfers’ from the other Member States to Greece.

In principle, the Dublin Regulation (No. 604/2013) would require the first Member State where someone submits an application for international protection to be responsible for that application, based on the principle of mutual trust. The principle of mutual trust between the EU Member States requires them to trust one another in complying with EU law and recognizing decisions made in their civil and criminal justice systems, asylum law and family law. However, Dublin transfers to Greece had been suspended since 2011 because of possible violations of Article 4 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, i.e. the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In practice, this meant that the Member State in which someone submitted an asylum application was responsible for that application instead of Greece, even if the person had previously applied for asylum in Greece.