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MEPs ready to draft new EU migration and asylum policy laws (11 September 2015)

Date: 11/09/2015
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, MEPs ready to draft new EU migration and asylum policy laws

MEPs have said they are ready to work on draft laws to establish a solid migration and asylum policy in the EU.

In a vote on Thursday (10/09/15), MEPs approved the resolution by 432 votes to 142 – with 57 abstentions – having welcomed the European Commission’s (EC) earlier proposals on how to deal with large numbers of migrants arriving in the EU, after fleeing war in their own countries.

Having backed an emergency proposal on Wednesday – which proposed relocating 40,000 asylum seekers among EU member states – MEPs welcomed the new proposal for the emergency relocation of more asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary.

The EC has proposed 120,000 asylum seekers should relocated – as well as agreeing a permanent mechanism amending the Dublin rules, which determine which EU member state is responsible for processing asylum claims. Usually the first EU country a migrant arrives in has to process the asylum claim.

Some migrants, however, wish to travel to more prosperous northern European countries after arriving in Europe, rather than claim asylum in their country of arrival.

MEPs said they wanted a “fair, compulsory allocation key” – and added that the integration prospects, the specific cases, and the needs of asylum seekers themselves must to be taken into account.

The European Parliament has declared its intention to advance its work on the new draft laws, “so as to ensure that member states do not delay the permanent relocation scheme”.

The UK has been called upon to take a greater share of asylum seekers – and David Cameron has announced that 20,000 of the most vulnerable, such as orphaned children, will be taken between now and 2020. Some critics of the UK government have called for Britain to take even more migrants, however.

Germany has agreed to take 800,000 migrants – and has also said that it would be able to accommodate an additional 500,000 asylum seekers a year in the next few years.

However, the European Parliament also wants member states to accept refugees from third countries under a compulsory resettlement programme, saying that it is “a high priority that the EU and its member states create safe and legal avenues for refugees” – including humanitarian corridors and visas.

It is reported that MEPs believe it would be necessary to amend the EU Visa Code to achieve this, by including "more specific common provisions on humanitarian visas” – with member states also making it possible for migrants to apply for asylum at their embassies and consular offices.

MEPs have also said that the root causes of migration needs to be tackled – including introducing tough criminal sanctions against human traffickers and smugglers – and addressing this should be the main topic at the Valletta summit in Malta on 11-12 November.
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