Roberta Metsola presents report calling for EU action on migration
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Member of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola has presented her bi-partisan report on a holistic approach to immigration to the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
The report – which was authored by Dr Metsola together with Italian socialist MEP Kashetu Kyenge – goes into detail on every aspect of migration and outlines how the EU should respond to the influx of migrants.
Presenting the report during a press conference in Strasbourg this morning, Dr Metsola answered questions from European media organisations and said, "there is no quick fix to migration. We need to look at every single aspect and come up with an all-encompassing plan."
Dr Metsola gave an overview of the report, saying that:
"On Frontex: The aim is to replace this agency with a European Border and Coast Guard to ensure integrated border management at the external borders with a view to managing migration effectively and ensuring a high level of internal security.
On borders: The abolition of internal border controls in Schengen has to go hand in hand with strengthening external borders. This is pre-requisite for Schengen to function properly. The EU needs to strengthen its border protection.
More measures are necessary to enhance the capacity of the Schengen Area to address the new challenges facing Europe and preserve the fundamental principles of security and free movement of persons.
On Security: Everyone must feel safe in our cities. Security fears caused by an influx of people exist and States must fulfil their obligations at the external borders if these fears are to be in any way allayed.
On integration: the way forward is seeing this as a two-way process. Of course, it almost goes without saying that people granted protection must be given all the rights they are entitled to, and yes, we must do more to keep families together, but at the same time it is also fair to expect respect for the values upon which our Union is built.
On returns: Not everyone who arrives in Europe is eligible for protection. We understand that. And we understand that the safe return of those who are not eligible must be carried out. Only 36% of those who were ordered to leave the Union were returned in 2014. There is therefore a clear need to improve the effectiveness of the Union's return system – and this is something that simply must be done.
On Search and Rescue: We are calling for a permanent, effective Union response in search and rescue operations. We acknowledge that Frontex and navy operations such as Operation Sophia have played their part in saving lives but we need to go further
On relocation: This is a point we have come back to time and time again. If we are a union of shared values, we must now become a union of shared responsibility. Every Member State must play its part. The establishment of urgent relocation measures is a move in the right direction but the numbers we have seen so far are very disappointing. States must fulfil their obligations as soon as possible.
On resettlement: Given the unprecedented flows of migrants that have reached and continue to reach our borders we know that we need a binding legislative approach to resettlement of people in need of protection.
On the Dublin system: Which I think we can all safely say that this has failed to reach its goals, this must be overhauled and truly share responsibility between States.
On the root causes of migration: We understand that in the long-term greater commitment is needed in solving the geo-political issues that affect the root causes of migration – war, poverty, corruption, hunger and a lack of opportunities means people will still feel forced to flee to Europe unless Europe also looks at how to help re-build those countries. We call for the EU to help third countries to build up their asylum systems to allow third country nationals to seek protection there.
On Turkey: We talk about the recent EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan and emphasise the need for all parties to fulfil the agreement and for Turkey to fulfil its commitments to prevent irregular migration flows from its territory to the EU.
On funding: We want things to be made easier, more transparent and allow more organisations to make use of the funds available. We welcome the recently established Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and the €1.8 billion pledged to the fund, but we want Member States to continue contributing."
Roberta Metsola concluded by saying that, "when it comes to options for legal migration, the right for Member States to determine the volumes of admission of third country nationals seeking work is clear and laid down in the treaties, but we ask Member States and the EU to identify any possible gaps in the market that could possibly be filled by people from outside the Union."