Socialists and Democrats' position on migration and asylum

The EU is facing the most challenging refugee situation since the end of World War II. The current situation has to be seen in a broader context of violent conflict and destabilisation in other parts of the world. It is a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented magnitude that largely originates from conflicts and persecutions in Europe’s wider neighbourhood. The violent conflicts in Syria and Iraq or instability, oppression and poverty in Afghanistan parts of Africa have forced millions of women, men and children to flee their homeland in search of protection and a decent life.


While the international community seeks to tackle the root causes of migration, it is necessary to find solutions for those people who week protection from conflicts and persecution. Many countries neighbouring the EU, or countries which are transit countries for people seeking to reach the EU, have already received large number of refugees and are providing care for them. Yet, sometimes these very countries are themselves struggling with poverty and/or political instability. Supporting those countries and cooperating with them remains a key aspect of EU policy, always keeping in mind the sensitive issue of defining safe countries of origin or safe third countries.


A strategy to successfully and sustainably deal with refugees requires a clear commitment to our common European responsibility in the area of migration. The necessary elements of this commitment are presented below.
The past years and months have clearly demonstrated that the EU asylum and migration policy is not fit for purpose and needs a fundamental rethink.


Article 80 TFEU puts the principles of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility at the heart of the whole of the Union system, providing a legal basis for the implementation of these principles in the Union policies on asylum, migration and border control
While acknowledging the challenge all Member States must confront in managing their borders responsibly, this needs to be done in a way that does not block access to protection for people who need it. The fact that still today access to an asylum procedure is not always guaranteed at the EU's external borders and that people are being "refouled" goes against fundamental European values and international law. In addition to promoting concrete measures for protection-sensitive border management that fully respects the universal right to apply for asylum, we call on the Union and its Member States to give effective help to those Member States confronted with excessive pressures. Relocation and resettlement of beneficiaries of international protection and asylum seekers are concrete forms of solidarity and responsibility-sharing. More needs to be done at Union and Member State level with respect to both of those measures.

Solidarity measures must also contain more effective early warning and emergency response, which would help to prevent and address challenging situations in Member States and provide comprehensive solutions at European level more swiftly and effectively. Solidarity must not only include the exchange of qualified staff and best practice but also financial support. Against this background, we have fought to have a good and better funded Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and now Member States must make full use of the resources provided under this Fund in line with its own policies to set up and develop meaningful integration strategies at local, regional and national level. The immigration and asylum policies of the EU must be seen as part of a bigger picture, and must be co-ordinated with other policies ranging from the CFSP, Trade, Development, Enlargement and Neighbourhood, climate change (?) and Human Rights to Employment, Education and the Budget.


The S- D Group is committed to ensuring ‘European Policy on Migration’ is based on a European approach underpinned by solidarity between member states fulfilling their responsibilities in line with the fundamental values of the EU.
Protection


The European Union must ensure equal treatment of asylum seekers irrelevant of the Member State in which they apply. This must be done in a way that reflects both solidarity and sharing of responsibilities between all Member States. Today, while numerous conflicts have forced more people to flee their homes worldwide than at any time in 20 years, S&D leadership on refugee rights and protection will be crucial in addressing some of these challenges.
EU migration policy must be guided by respect for human rights and the principles of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility among Member States. It should ensure not only the integrity of the Union's borders, but also the fight against human trafficking and ensuring safe and legal routes to the European Union for migrants and any potential refugees. At the same time, further efforts are required to protect vulnerable groups including children and also to clear any international law misconceptions and interpretations, such as the consideration of LGBTI people as a social group under Article 1 of the Geneva Convention.


A Common European Asylum System (CEAS)


The End of Dublin:

The premise for which the current Dublin Regulation was created is no longer valid. The increased arrival of migrants and asylum seekers to Europe over the past months has put considerable strain to a system that gave exclusive responsibility to some Member States which had to deal with 80% of all asylum requests submitted in the European Union threatening the European project as such and most notably Schengen.
Our political Group strongly believes that serious consideration should be given to the harmonisation and Europeanisation of the asylum procedures towards a real solidarity sharing system between Member States which would become a unified and effective Common European Asylum system.


Building on and strengthening the content of the Strategic Own Initiative Report in the LIBE Committee, the S-D position is as follows; The current Dublin system has to be revised.

Applications should be collected centrally at EU level, viewing each asylum-seeker as someone seeking asylum in the EU as a whole rather than in an individual Member State ( This should be done under the authority of a strong European Asylum Agency, by reinforcing EASO ) There is a clear need for a central system for the allocation of responsibility for any persons seeking asylum in the Union Such a system could provide for a certain relative threshold per Member State, above which no further allocation of responsibility is made until the remaining Member States have met their own threshold.


Such a central allocation mechanism could considerably help in deterring secondary movements as all Member States would be fully involved in the centralized system and would no longer have individual responsibility for the allocation of applicants to other Member States.


Such a future system could function on the basis of a number of Union ‘hot spots’ from where Union distribution should take place. The completion of the set-up of these hot spots is really needed. Adequate financing at both European and national level is required. We must provide an adequate platform for the agencies to intervene, rapidly and in an integrated manner in full respect of fundamental rights of the migrants. The work of the hotspots must be carried out quickly in order to facilitate the effective and efficient relocation of refugees, building on the preferences and profile of asylum seekers. Criteria such as family unity or the best interest of the child have to be fundamental for the new legal framework at the same time, asylum seekers have to be adequately informed about the relocation procedure as such, about their rights and also about possible countries of destination. We should stop considering the "irregular entry" criterion to determine which Member State shall be responsible for examining the application for asylum. The so-called "frontline" Member States should be responsible only for the registration and taking the fingerprints of all migrants, but they should not be held responsible for the examination of the migrants` asylum application. This in turn would ensure that no Member State's reception capacities are disproportionately affected. The full implementation and further harmonization of the European framework laying down the rules for asylum procedures (Procedures Directive), reception conditions (Reception Directive) and of common criteria giving access to protection (Qualification Directive) as well as a reform strengthening the European Asylum Support Office is a precondition for an effective permanent relocation mechanism. Also, specific procedures and methods, such as age assessment methods, should be fully harmonized, ensuring respect for human dignity. Such a uniform European protection status would also enable mutual recognition of asylum decisions which would then enable free movement- under the same conditions as the EU nationals. In order to be able to properly monitor the implementation of a fully-fledged Common European Asylum Policy, EASO’s financial and operational capacities have to be substantially strengthened. The Agency should become the principal coordinator of claims for international protection in a truly harmonised European asylum system. More generally speaking, serious thought should be given to how the EU-budget for the EU asylum and migration policies in general can be substantially increased in the near future, without impeding on other EU policies.


We need a European approach on resettlement for persons in need of protection and the introduction of systematic mandatory resettlement programmes at EU level in case of significant stream of refugees, for example from Syria and Iraq;

Whilst noting that 86% of the world’s refugee population is hosted by non-industrialised countries with at least 9.9 million persons estimated to be living in protracted refugee situations, it is of extreme importance that Europe recognises its role as an international player in the global refugee crisis through the strengthening of bilateral agreements and investment in key areas such as Africa facilitated by the full implementation of the Trust Fund for Africa, and the establishment of a United Nations backed tribunal to tackle corruption in Africa;


A European approach is also required for permanent relocation. The S&D Group stresses that relocation of persons benefitting from international protection must be mandatory and permanent, as voluntary schemes have proven to be ineffective and very little results were achieved. Any such mechanism must take into consideration both the needs and capacities of Member States and the preferences of those who have been granted asylum status;


Legal and safe routes to the European Union for asylum seekers have to be established through the issuing of humanitarian visas at EU embassies and consular offices and through an extensive program for the resettlement of refugees from third countries; humanitarian visas would provide temporary entry into the EU so that asylum applications could be processed safely within the EU; Member States have to use existing EU legislation such as Article 25 in the Visa Code and Article 5 in the Schengen Borders Code, making it possible to grant humanitarian visas for asylum seekers; an extensive EU resettlement programme that would move refugees from conflict zones and refugee camps in third countries to safety in the EU should be matched with a mandatory resettlement program at the EU-level and would thus ensure that the EU and its Member States takes its full responsibility for the refugee situation in the world; and the Temporary Protection Directive 2001/55/EC, which was never triggered.


The establishment of humanitarian corridors throughout the countries of transit for refugees (in both the Mediterranean and the Western Balkans), with the aim of providing humanitarian aid and ensuring that the refugees’ most basic needs are covered and their human rights respected has to be seriously considered. That is indeed the only way to prevent the exploitation of asylum seekers and migrants by criminal networks and to achieve the objectives of the EU Action Plan against people smuggling


EU Visa policy must become a tool for managing mobility and supporting democratisation and prosperity in third countries. We support visa facilitation and liberalisation for all countries that that fulfil the relevant criteria.. Visa liberalisation fosters people-to-people contacts and business, scientific and cultural exchanges, producing significant changes inside societies.
Regarding returns policy we must insist that they must respect the principle of non-refoulement and should go hand-in-hand with the respect of the procedural rights and standards already laid down in the EU acquis to ensure a humane and dignified treatment of returnees. Voluntary returns should be prioritised.and returns decisions should be taken on a case-by-case basis in full respect of Article 14 of the UNDH.


If migrants smuggling and human trafficking are two distinct phenomena, there is also a possibility of crossover between them, entailing the risk that criminals start forcing refugees and migrants into exploitation, in particular children and women. Considering this, Member States should take immediate and coordinated actions so as to protect these victims and potential victims of trafficking along migration routes. It is also essential to identify them in a better and more proactive way, in particular at border crossings and in reception centers. Regarding the situation of unaccompanied minors, a stronger multi-disciplinary cooperation has to be achieved to ensure the best interests of the child are effectively protected, including by promptly appointing legal guardians with adequate training. Lastly, Member States should ensure that law-enforcement authorities and asylum authorities cooperate in order to help human trafficking victims in need of international protection to lodge an application for protection


In view of the above, the S&D Group is of the strong opinion that the European Union has to overhaul Dublin and has to come up with a new Regulation which addresses the issues that we are facing today rather than revamp a system which is clearly not working and not addressing the matters at hand.


The proposed EU common list of safe countries of origin:


As part of the response to the refugee crisis the Commission proposed on 9th of September 2015 to establish a common European list of safe countries of origin, initially comprising Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. This would enable fast -tracking of asylum applications from citizens of these countries, which are considered 'safe' according to the criteria set out in the Asylum Procedures Directive and in full compliance with the principle of non-refoulement.


We understand that by strengthening the ‘safe country of origin’ provision of the Asylum Procedure Directive by establishing a common EU list of safe countries of origin could limit the procedural rights of citizens of those countries. Since the acceptance rate for asylum applications varies greatly from one Member State to another, including as regards particular countries of origin, we must ensure that steps shall be taken to ensure that this approach does not undermine the principle of non-refoulement and the individual right to asylum, especially that of people belonging to vulnerable groups such as non-accompanied minors.


External Borders policy and the proposed European Border and Coast Guard Agency


Recent events at the external borders of the Union and the internal borders of the Schengen area must act as a wake-up cal. The number of migrants willing to risk their lives in trying to reach the Union shows no sign of abating. The need to protect our borders and to have an efficient system of border control cannot be detrimental to the fundamental rights of migrants arriving at European borders, including the right to human dignity and respect for the principle of non-refoulement.
We believe that migrants should always be seen first and foremost as human beings with inherent human rights, in this regard we condemn the installation of border defence systems such as fences or razor wires, and the use of rubber bullets or tear gas against migrants.

The Commission has come forward with a wide-ranging proposal for the establishment of a new European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which will replace the existing Frontex agency. The new agency would work together with the national border guards to comprise a European Border and Coast Guard under shared responsibility. We welcome the proposal to strengthen European Integrated Border Management but we have serious reservations about parts of the proposal.


The Socialists and Democrats have in the past sought to extend the role of the Border Agency so that it has a more central role in search and rescue operations and does not acts only to protect EU borders from irregular migration and against people trafficking and criminal smuggling. We supported interception rules for Frontex-coordinated operations at sea, to achieve effective and coordinated rescue measures complying with international human rights refugee laws and with obligations under the Law of the Sea. Assisting migrants in distress and rescue at sea were key priorities for Socialist and Democrats to give their support to EUROSUR (European external border surveillance system).


We therefore take the view that any new agency must have not just enhanced powers for involvement in return procedures but also enhanced powers with regard to search and rescue activities and enhanced powers to allow it to help deal with humanitarian emergencies at the external borders of the Union.


The Socialists and Democrats have supported the establishment of a number of 'hotspots' at certain sections of the external borders of the Union. We believe that 'hotspots' should facilitate the Union in granting protection and humanitarian assistance in a swift manner to those in need; we are of the opinion that great care needs to be taken to ensure that the registration of migrants at hotspots is carried out in full respect of the rights of all migrants, and we accept that proper identification of applicants for international protection at the point of first arrival in the Union should help facilitate the overall functioning of a reformed Common European Asylum System.


We believe that, for the hotspots to function properly, it is necessary not only to increase the budget and staffing of any new Borders Agency but also the budget and staffing of EASO to ensure that adequate expertise on applications for international protection, humanitarian assistance and information on relocation is available on the spot for those arriving. We do not want to see the hotspots become mistrusted detention centres which newly-arriving migrants try to avoid or escape.
We want to encourage the involvement of all EU agencies, local authorities, NGOs and civil-society organisations in providing humanitarian assistance in times of crises. We must be willing to use the expertise of NGOs and civil-society both in relation to rescue operations and initial reception of migrants.


The Schengen Area


Schengen is one of the pillars of the Union and one of its most cherished achievements. The creation of the Schengen area and its integration into the EU framework represented a major extension of citizens' rights and European integration, marked by the removal of internal border controls and unprecedented freedom of movement for a population of more than 400 million people over an area of 4 312 099 km2 (and 26 countries1). It is one of the pillars of the Union.

The Schengen area is distinct from the area of the EU as some of its Members do not participate in the free movement aspects of Schengen (UK, Ireland) or could not yet lift internal border controls (Croatia, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania), while some non-EU countries participate (Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein).


The recent migration phenomenon has led to unprecedented strain being placed on the Schengen Area. In reaction to populist sentiment, and a beggar thy neighbour approach - which is the exact opposite of an approach based on solidarity - some Member States have closed their internal borders. The temporary derogations permitted by the Schengen Borders Code are being tested to their limits.


We believe that migration flows do not pose a credible threat to internal security, and do not constitute grounds for the reintroduction of internal border controls. We totally reject any disingenuous links made between migration and terrorism. In the last mandate, the S&D led negotiations to transform Schengen from an opaque regime based solely on co-operation between governments, into a truly European system. Unfortunately, national political interests have trumped the broader European interest.


Targeted Revision of the Schengen Borders Code


The Commission has proposed a targeted revision of the Schengen Borders Code. The Socialists and Democrats are in favour of measures which increase the security of our citizens. However, we have reservations about the practical impact of these measures at the external borders of the Union. We have also repeatedly argued and continue to make the case that the Member States need to make better use of existing tools at their disposal rather than constantly calling for new tools to be made available or new measures be taken. In that regard, it is clear that a proper sharing of information between the Member States and the relevant Union agencies is of paramount importance so that the mechanisms which exist function properly.


Integration


European migration policies have been focusing more on repressive answers to migration flows than on inclusive ones and the promotion of solidarity. It is in the interest of the EU and its citizens to ensure that migrants, whether economic migrants or refugees, have the chance to integrate and play a full role in their adopted society. This can be achieved by opening channels of legal migration by granting access to the labour market, by granting education and civil rights, and by putting in place strong policies against discrimination.


A more balanced European Immigration Policy


More than ever, the economic crisis has shown how precarious the situation of third-country nationals is in the labour market. There is evidence of social dumping and discrimination regarding equal remuneration, over-qualification, and access to labour market facilities. We need a coherent comprehensive migration policy that should reflect the positive and concrete contribution that migrants make to the European economy, including harmonized legal frameworks for stable and temporary migration, in the Mediterranean and across the Union.


We are committed to increasing legal channels of migration as one way of reducing the need for migrants to resort to more dangerous irregular methods of entry and providing a lucrative boon to criminal gangs. This is why we have been in the vanguard of efforts to adopt legal migration instruments at EU level that provide for the equal treatment of workers.
In the last mandate we fought for and adopted the Seasonal Workers Directive (which represents the first legal migration instrument adopted at EU level directed at low-paid workers from third countries). We pushed for the establishment of appropriate safeguards for seasonal workers in terms of condition of entry and the rights that those workers will enjoy (improved trade union rights, social security entitlements and working conditions, taking into account not only legislation but also collective agreements), while at the same time ensuring that adequate sanctions will be imposed on employers who try to exploit seasonal workers by breaching the terms of the directive. When fully implemented, this should provide a channel of legal migration promoting a positive message on immigration. Similarly when adopting the Single Permit we secured equal treatment on working conditions, freedom of association, education and vocational training, recognition of diplomas, social security, tax benefits, and access to goods and services and employment offices.


It is unscrupulous employers, not migrants, who promote and profit from the black market in labour. Governments should strengthen national laws to prevent exploitation, ensuring that breaches are subject to strict sanctions against employers while protecting the rights of exploited migrant workers, and guarantee the right to union membership.


In this mandate, we have already agreed on improved rules for the entry and stay of Students and Researchers, including a mobility scheme for students and researchers coming to the Union. We will work constructively to reform the Blue Card System, to make it a genuine tool for legal migration for people wishing to come to the Union to work. We shall fight to ensure that it is available not only to those with PHD qualifications but to all skilled workers on the basis of strict equal treatment. Equal treatment for all workers, including equal pay, is not only a way to ensure social integration of immigrations, but will also contribute to the fight against social dumping generally.


Of course, adopting EU laws is of course only one step: we must ensure that they are properly implemented in the Member States.


In the long run, the European Union will need to overcome the overly restrictive and fragmented approach of its policies in terms of labour migration. A harmonised legal framework with common rules should be established in order to regulate the conditions of entry and residence for third country nationals seeking employment in the Union.


Integration Policy


The EU has a long and rich experience of migration. If integration is one key to ensuring the success of the European project as a whole, it also represents a challenge that the Union and its Member States have been reluctant to really face. Rather than incorporating immigrants effectively into schools, workplaces, and political systems, European societies are - in many respects - slipping into a state of 'disintegration', giving rise to extremist, xenophobic and Eurosceptic forces.
Continued immigration, managed wisely, creates substantial economic and social benefits, while enriching cultural diversity, but immigration can also mobilise fears, and the extent of immigration is the focus of sustained public debate in many Member States. For us, as Social Democrats, there is a clear need to integrate immigrants who already live and work in the EU is self-evident. They must become full members of society, ultimately having the prospect of attaining citizenship. Anything less would imply sanctioning a two-tier society, a notion that offends our core values that must guide EU policy on integration.

Yet in trying to overcome this challenge the Union has committed precious few resources. Our Group's efforts to insist on more EU spending on integration have been met with inflexibility by the Council and even the Commission. More spending in this area will, of course, need fresh money so as not to endanger other areas of spending covered by the EU Budget.


Success in integration would strengthen the Union’s economy in the face of global competition, attract workers and entrepreneurs our economies need, (as well as the scientists and students who are the bedrock of our ability to innovate), and make our our societies stronger, more inclusive and more prosperous. The benefits of integration range even further than GDP growth, more secure pensions, and diminished unrest. Europe’s immigrants can serve as the Union’s bridge to a globalising world; enhancing trade, reinforcing social networks, and confirming the Union’s position as a global leader capable of overcoming cultural and religious divides.


And finally, integration is not only a question for the EU institutions. Member states, and regional and local authorities, civil society orgnaisations, and active citizens also have a key role to play and we argue for greater cooperation at all levels on the integration of migrants.


Access of migrants to education and social and civil rights


The living and working conditions of migrant workers are an essential factor for integration, but so far nothing concrete has been achieved. In order to ensure migrants' integration into the social and economic life of the host country, measures have to be taken at national, regional and local level to ensure free and equal access to education and training, especially providing language classes for migrants and their children, regardless of their regular or undocumented status.


The EU has recently adopted new instruments, which would allow - if duly applied - the strengthening of the rights of children. In addition to a strict monitoring of the different mechanisms and instruments in force, we call for mandatory guidelines on unaccompanied children, which ensure not only assistance through all stages of the proceedings, but also better coordination between the different stakeholders involved at European and national level.


Access to education and training will reduce the risk of exploitation as well as giving people who have left their country the capacity to return. Training courses for teachers, institutions, social workers and NGOs would raise awareness and focus attention on elimination of exclusion and marginalisation.


Migrants have to be considered primarily as human beings, with equal human and social rights and not just as a workforce. They should be entitled to free and fair mobility and to equal treatment in the workplace. Obstacles for third-country nationals to be admitted to public service employment should be removed, at least as long as the exercise of public authority is not concerned.


A minimum level of protection for undocumented migrants and their families has to be ensured, for instance, access to healthcare, education and other fundamental public services. A European framework setting out criteria for the regularisation of or granting of amnesties to undocumented migrants should be considered.


Extending voting rights in local and European elections to all lawfully resident citizens after a set time period would contribute significantly to their integration into European society. We want to foster a more inclusive idea of citizenship, and encourage access to nationality for children born in the EU. All citizens of Europe, regardless of where they or their parents came from, are an integral part of our society. Migrants and their children must be given opportunities to be full members of European society, through participation and citizenship. Long-term residents should have the right to active and passive participation in local elections where they live, which means they should have not only the right to vote but also the right to get elected. If migrants are to integrate and play a positive role in the community, they should be allowed regulated access to labour and social rights, as well as access to education and health care.


Policies against discrimination and xenophobia


The principle of equal treatment is one of our core values. Every human deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
We stand for a Europe of tolerance, solidarity and inclusion, whose core values and principles are enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, We have fought hard against the evils of extremism, racism and xenophobia. Unlike those who seek to exploit the issue of immigration for xenophobic ends, we believe in an ambitious European approach based on ending all forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, belief, age, gender, gender identity and gender expression, disability or sexual orientation, in or out of the workplace. We continue to call on the Council to support a comprehensive directive on Equal Treatment.


Budgetary implications


The European budget is crucial for implementing consistent migration policies and providing rapid responses to unforeseen events and emergency situations, such as the recent increases in the number of arrivals of migrants and persons seeking international protection.


Member States have consistently set high ambitions for the Union, but they never provided sufficient funds to back them up, in particular for key agencies, such as EASO.


It is becoming impossible to carry out new and growing tasks, and at the same time deliver on a demand for better results, with fewer resources. The trend has been to focus the allocation of resources more towards internal security and the protection of EU borders, than on prevention - in the form of tackling root causes - and the offer of international protection.

Despite the fact that the ambitions have not lowered, the Council sought to cut resources in the 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework across the board, by about a fifth. In the mid-term revision of the Multiannual Financial Framework, our Group will insist on an increase in the relevant budget lines to ensure that the means available are sufficient.


The challenges for policies affecting immigration and asylum are such that they cannot be met by individual Member States alone. The EU budget is an excellent tool for responsibility-sharing and expressing solidarity within the Union, through which all Member States contribute to the financing of these policies. If correctly used, it can achieve synergies between different EU policy areas and programmes, and the full benefits of cooperation.


Conclusion


The EU and its Member States have to accept that Europe is a continent of migration, and that it is in Europe's self-interest not only to allow managed migration but also to ensure the integration of migrants.

The individual right of asylum is a cornerstone of the EU asylum system which should not be undermined. We need a centralised common European Asylum system that has to be underpinned by an approach that is both ‘common’ for all member states and ‘European’ not leaving individual member states to deal with the responsibility on their own. The related policies should place individuals, their dignity, their integration, safety and protection at the centre of European action, focussing on a safe and lawful access to international protection, increased avenues of legal migration for those seeking a better future, political dialogue and partnership with countries of origin and with countries of transit, supporting democratization processes, institution building, development, European integrated border management, the fight against criminal smugglers and trafficking of human beings and joint protection of people in distress.


A holistic approach to migration policy is in the best interests of current and future EU citizens.


It must be therefore co-ordinated with other policies ranging from the CFSP, Trade, Development, Enlargement and Neighbourhood, climate change and Human Rights to Employment, Education and the Budget.


They should place individuals, their dignity, safety and protection at the centre of European action, focussing on a strong political dialogue and partnership with countries of origin and with countries of transit, supporting democratization processes, institution building, development, joint border management, the fight against smuggling and trafficking of human beings and joint protection of people in distress, including opening legal channels for controlled mobility to the EU.


This is no time to hesitate: political authorities at EU, national, regional, and local level must act urgently to adopt and implement the measures that reflect our multidisciplinary, progressive, European strategy. The European Parliament and national parliaments must be fully involved throughout the process. It is of key importance that the EU and its Member States take full responsibility regarding refugees in the world.


A co-ordinated migration policy is in the best interests of current and future EU citizens. The Commission and especially the Council will have to take a positive approach to legal migration and integration but also show greater commitment to tackling the root causes that force people to leave their homes and migrate or seek asylum.