A recent Eurostat survey found that strengthening EU borders and finding a solution to the migration crisis are among EU citizens’ top concerns. But although there has been an agreed set of proposals on border security, we are still nowhere near agreeing a humanitarian and workable refugee resettlement plan.
The main issue of concern for many MEPs and NGOs working in this area, is the poor response to migrants and refugees in the member states.
While there has been improvement over the past twelve months the asylum process in several EU countries is not up to international best practice. This is for many reasons, but mostly due to a lack of critical infrastructure (i.e. Greece) and political reasons found in Hungary for example.
EU migration and asylum policy are member state responsibilities, in that the European Parliament has no official role. But MEPs vote on budget decisions around security and assistance for refugee centres, and my political group in the European Parliament has a strong position on both spending and response to the migration and refugee issue.
I believe that all member states, including Ireland should agree a permanent, secure and fair way to organise asylum and migration into the EU. This is urgently needed to protect refugees’ human rights and the right to asylum, but also to ensure that the responsibility and financial burden of inward migration is shared across the EU.
To do this we must replace the Dublin Regulation with a coherent immigration and asylum policy which would include:
- An accessible EU asylum seeker system
- Points of access centres funded and maintained at EU level
- To establish legal methods of travel to seek asylum in the EU
- Green card scheme for residents outside EU to come to live and work in EU
Critically, leaders and parliaments must address the fundamental issues that force people to flee their countries – war and climate change.