Josef Janning, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, sees no immediate impact on trade in Europe, but he said he does think that rising political pressure from some member states like Greece and Italy could force policy changes at the EU level.
"The growing pressure from some states will be a decisive element in this," he said. "This is a good basis to change the system, and it will probably come in small steps."
A central issue facing the European Union is that is there is no cohesive policy on how to deal with asylum seekers. The lack of a common system has also been compounded by the de facto principle that has been in place since 2003—namely, that refugees may apply for asylum only in the country where they land. That places most of the burden on Greece, Italy and to a lesser extent Spain.
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Janning said the EU will first have to agree on a standard definition on who is eligible for political asylum, and then streamline the process for all member states. "It will probably be an upscaling of the instruments the EU provides member states on how to implement asylum protocol," he said.
"Because there is no common definition, there are too many people being entered into the asylum system," he said, "which means that those who really need it, most of them from Syria, are getting stuck in the pipeline."
Progress on a policy change will most likely come over the course of the year, he added.
"To have a single market and enjoy an open space does have policy implications," he said. "There needs to be a common understanding how people will migrate into your societies."