We welcome the fact that no majority could be found in the Council on the Instrumentalisation Regulation today.

This demonstrates that, while the right to asylum in Europe is under threat, a sizeable group of Member States is ready to step up to defend it. ECRE and many others urged states to reject the proposal.

The Instrumentalisation Regulation is the worst of a series of bad legislative proposals on asylum issued by the European Commission. It creates a mechanism that would allow Member States to deviate from standards related to asylum procedures, reception and return in any situation they believe to be “instrumentalisation”.

The compromise agreement developed by the Czech Presidency that Member States were supposed to adopt today went even further than the European Commission’s proposal, for instance by making it easier to activate the derogatory mechanism.

It would have been detrimental and dangerous if, amidst all the ongoing disagreement among Member States on how to reform EU asylum law, they would have agreed on how to avoid the law. This is an area of EU law where lack of compliance is rife.

The fate of the Instrumentalisation Regulation now remains to be seen. We hope that upcoming Council Presidencies will prioritise negotiations on other files, as per their previous statements. There is also resistance to the Instrumentalisation proposal in the majority of political groups in the European Parliament, so it should now be withdrawn.

However, even if the Instrumentalisation Regulation fades away, the dangerous idea of allowing wide-ranging derogations from the standards in the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) might return by the backdoor – through integration into other reform proposals.

It is therefore imperative that Member States and MEPs who have concerns about the introduction of widespread derogations from the asylum acquis remain vigilant – and defend access to asylum in Europe.

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