The Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on 28 March adopted a set of new regulations on the theme of migration and asylum.
The meeting represented an important occasion to discuss about migration and asylum in European terms, as this crisis requests a shared and common response by the European institutions. Because the migratory issue is still an emergency that Europe and all its member states are facing since 2015, when the migratory flows intensified and they became an ordinary issue on the political agenda of the EU.
In 2020 the European Commission adopted the so known New Migration and Asylum Pact, in order to face the challenge of migration.
In that occasion, the Commission intended to adopt better and quicker procedures in order to guarantee a solution that could find a balance between responsibility and solidarity and to restore trust among all the member State.
The pact aims to achieve different goals, in particular related to:
New procedures that should be more effective in terms of border screening procedures, with an improvement of IT systems and an adjustment of the rules for asylum claims;
Schengen and external borders, by the reform of the Schengen Borders Code and the introduction of a new strategy on the future of Schengen;
Effective solidarity, that requires the improvement of the relocation procedures for vulnerable groups and people rescued at sea;
International partnership, which means to implement the support to other countries to host refugees and to fight migrant smuggling;
Flexibility and resilience. This means that it must be ensured a common and rapid reaction to the migration crisis that we are still facing today.
Migration as a complex phenomenon to which the European Union has yet to find a viable solution
Migration is a complex issue that involves a lot of other themes such as the safety of people, the theme of special international protection and the border safety for all member states.
It is therefore fundamental to activate a migration system that is predictable and reliable.
Today we can sadly confirm that the system proposed in 2020 is not working and that the European Union still don’t have a valid solution for the migration issue.
It was specifically for this reason that on last 9 February the European Council, during its extraordinary meeting, decided to address the Commission to this topic, in order to receive an immediate and efficient response as the migration is growing faster and faster every day, and the European territory is coming to the collapse.
On that occasion the EU Council adopted conclusions also for the migration. In particular, the European leaders confirmed that migratory issue is a European issue and it therefore requires a European response and action.
The Council approached to this thematic focusing on the need to increase the external action, to adopt an effective control of external borders, and the importance of the internal aspects. In the conclusions it is also stressed out that the Council will closely monitor and ensure the implementation of its conclusions.
On last 23-24 March it was also held the last reunion of EU leaders in Bruxelles. During those days the Presidency of EU Council and the EU Commission informed the Councilabout progress in the implementation of its February conclusions on migration. The meeting ended with leaders called for the swift implementation of those conclusions that will be reviewed again in June.
So, we can say that today the migratory issue really has a relevance in Europe, even if the EU seems to act slowly in this way.
It was precisely for this reason that during the last reunion of the Committee on Civil Liberties it was decided to discuss about new rules on screening of irregular migrants and faster asylum procedures.
The LIBE Commission approved a package of four legislative proposals on migrants fielded as part of the Migration and Asylum Pact reform package. MEPs approved texts on the revision of regulations for screening third-country nationals at external borders, asylum and migration management, crisis and force majeure in migration and asylum, and the status of long-term resident third-country nationals.
MEPs on the parliamentary committee backed the new regulation on EU border screening and access to information on criminal convictions of non-EU nationals by 41 votes to 17 with 7 abstentions. The new screening rules will apply to people who do not meet the entry conditions of an EU member state, who enter the EU irregularly or who disembark following a search and rescue operation, or who have applied for international protection at a border crossing point.
With 38 votes in favor, 21 against, and 6 abstentions, the green light was given to the negotiating mandate on border asylum procedures. The proposal introduces the possibility of faster and streamlined procedures for asylum claims directly after screening, including for nationalities with low recognition rates. These should be completed in 12 weeks, including appeals. If an application is denied or rejected, there should be a return procedure lasting up to 12 weeks. Unaccompanied minors, children under the age of 12 and their families, as well as persons with health problems, should always undergo the normal asylum procedure. During the assessment of an asylum claim or the completion of return procedures, the text stipulates that the applicant should be accommodated by EU member states and could be detained.
With 36 votes in favor, 13 against and 16 abstentions, the committee adopted a draft report introducing changes to the 2003 directive. Under the new rules, holders of long-term resident status in the EU will be able to move to a second member state for work or study without additional requirements (such as labor market controls or integration requirements). The approved text aims to reduce to three years-instead of the proposed five-the period of legal residence in a member state to acquire long-term resident status in the EU.
ECR is not satisfied with the proposed solutions to address the dire situation
The ECR party expressed their opposition to what emerged from the committee meeting. The proposed solutions do not respond satisfactorily to the dramatic emergency that European countries are experiencing, and it is the European Union’s defense and security system itself that is being compromised.
The decision of the Committee, and consequently of the Parliament, bring out different points of view from what has been pursued so far in the European Council and the European Commission. Indeed, while the two institutions have become aware of a migration emergency that needs to be addressed quickly and effectively, members of the European Parliament have preferred to focus mainly on solidarity without finding a balance with responsibility.
We all believe in the importance of humanitarian aid but this help needs to be put in place with the right tools. And, above all, it is crucial to find a general solution to the migratory flows which includes the regulation of them and the support to the countries of origin, which require to be supported in order to reach their economic and social stability.
It is necessary that the three European institutions find a common framework among themselves, because only with a synergic action it would be possible to face the migration crisis and to finally arrive at a final resolution that no longer plagues the European borders and at the same time ensures that those who are forced to migrate no longer do so.