Despite the continuous deaths by drowning in the Mediterranean and the growing migratory pressure on border states (such as Greece, Italy, Poland and Hungary), the EU Member States do not seem to be able to reach a consensus on how to share out migrants in Europe. Europe opted for a ‘voluntary’ resettlement scheme at the European Council meeting in Brussels on 26 June 2015. The Member States are incapable of applying the principle of solidarity and of committing to jointly managing the phenomenon. Furthermore, the Dublin III mechanism is still in force and goes against the principle of solidarity as it places the burden on outlying European states.
The asylum crisis in Europe means that the European Union’s founding values are in crisis and the Schengen area and agreements are being called into question. Italy is threatening to apply Plan B, which would involve issuing temporary residence permits enabling migrants to travel to other countries; while Hungary is threatening to leave the Dublin III system and is also building a fence along its border with Serbia. And in the same vein, Germany reintroduced border checks in its usually control-free Schengen Area in the run-up to the G7 summit (8 June 2015) and France is accused of pushing back migrants and closing its borders with Italy.
In response to a chaotic situation that is far from being resolved, the European Parliament is asking for more resources and notably for 50,000 international protection applicants to be resettled (10,000 more than the 40,000 originally planned by the European Commission on 13 May 2015). Meanwhile, Luxembourg will be heading the EU Council until December 2015 and this presidency is undertaking to:
1) Apply the principle of solidarity 2) improve relations with partner countries and 3) relaunch development cooperation and humanitarian action. The third point is vital, given that the security and defence-based approach selected by the EU is not addressing the socioeconomic issues which are the drivers of migration. David Cameron voiced the same opinion at the 8 June 2015 G7 summit, which was attended on a one-off basis by Tunisia, “We need to deal with the causes of migration, not just the consequences”.
Tunisia is opposed to the EU-NAVFOR Med operation and acts as a ‘buffer zone’ on the borders of Europe. Furthermore, the EU’s external action relies on Tunisia playing a part in making Libya safe. Libya is threatening the stability of the Mediterranean Region, thus heralding fresh waves of migrants and more deaths at sea.
The destabilisation of the EU’s neighbours to the East and South is forcing political Europe to not only carry out an ‘internal’ review of its migration management and asylum system, but also an ‘external’ review of its neighbourhood policy. This review process started with the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council deciding on 20 July 2015 to: 1) Prioritize the stabilization of the Balkans and 2) cooperate with third countries and reach ‘readmission agreements’. The latter are a clear example of the EU’s interference in other countries’ internal affairs and, at the same time, seem to fail to protect migrants’ rights. In addition, the concept of a ‘safe country’ currently being discussed by the EU Council remains ambiguous and gives rise to fears of migrants being sent back to countries such as Serbia, which is known for its deportation rate.
Once again, the countries of Europe are remaining wedded to their desire to defend their sovereignty, without managing to work together. They are shifting the issue of migration outside Europe’s borders to the migrants’ countries of origin and transit countries. It seems that Europe will be adopting this stance at the Valetta Summit on 11-12 November 2015.
 The naval-military EU-NAVFOR Med operation was launched on 22 June 2015, despite the misgivings expressed by NGOs, Libya and the UN Security Council which has not yet given its agreement to the operation.