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Refugees: MEPs want Dublin rule changes, humanitarian visas and global strategy

Welcoming the European Commission's new proposals to deal with the unprecedented influx of migrants and refugees, MEPs declared themselves ready to work on draft laws to set up a solid migration and asylum policy for the future in a resolution voted on Thursday.

  • Relocation. Having backed an emergency proposal the day before for relocating 40,000 asylum seekers among EU countries, MEPs welcomed a fresh proposal for the emergency relocation of more asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary (the Commission proposes 120,000) and a permanent mechanism amending the Dublin rules, which determine which member state is  responsible for processing asylum applications. MEPs want a "fair, compulsory allocation key" and the integration prospects and the specific cases and needs of asylum seekers themselves to be taken into account. Parliament declares its intention to advance its work on the draft laws "so as to ensure that member states do not delay the permanent relocation scheme".
  • Resettlement and humanitarian visas. Parliament also wants member states to take in refugees from third countries via a compulsory resettlement programme, and considers it "a high priority that the EU and its member states create safe and legal avenues for refugees", such as humanitarian corridors and visas. MEPs believe that it is necessary to amend the EU Visa Code by including "more specific common provisions on humanitarian visas" and ask member states to make it possible to apply for asylum at their embassies and consular offices.
  • Common EU list of safe countries of origin. This approach should not undermine the non-refoulement principle and the individual right to asylum, especially that of people belonging to vulnerable groups, says the resolution.
  • Asylum rules. MEPs call for the Common European Asylum System to be properly implemented, in order to ensure that "consistent and humane standards" are applied across the EU.
  • Parliament stands for "open borders within the Schengen area", while stressing the need to ensure effective management of external borders.
  • The root causes of migration also need to be tackled and should be the main topic at the Valletta summit (Malta) on 11-12 November. Tough criminal sanctions against human trafficking and smuggling are also needed, says the text.
  • International conference on the refugee crisis. Parliament calls on the Commission and on the EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini to convene an international conference on the refugee crisis, with the participation of the EU, its member states, UN-related agencies, the US, relevant international NGOs and Arab states, with the aim of establishing a common global humanitarian aid strategy.

Citizens showing true adherence to European values

Parliament praises the efforts of civil society groups and individuals all over Europe who are mobilising in large numbers to welcome and provide aid to refugees and migrants. "Such actions demonstrate true adherence to European values and are a sign of hope for the future of Europe", MEPs say.

The resolution was approved by 432 votes to 142, with 57 abstentions.

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