Asylum is a fundamental right embedded in the EU Charter and in all constitutions. The EPP Group is deeply committed to the respect and protection of refugees and asylum seekers. During the 2009-2014 legislature, the EPP Group succeded in shaping a well-functioning common asylum policy and ensuring better management of migration flows. The Group has played a crucial role in establishing new rules for asylum and immigration, which define clear conditions for admittance and assure speedy asylum procedures to protect the rights of the persons concerned.
1 - Organising legal immigration better
The EPP Group promotes a balanced migration policy built on solidarity and shared responsibility; a policy that should focus on attracting and keeping talent without giving way to migratory pressures. The EPP Group has taken the lead in the adoption of new rules aimed at providing the EU with a framework for regular immigration, taking into account the importance of integration in host countries.
- Simplified procedures and a single permit: The procedures and conditions of entry and residence for certain categories of migrants (workers, students, and researchers) were simplified and clear employment-related rights were defined. A single permit confirms rights for non-EU workers legally residing in Member States.
- Integration of non-EU nationals: Successful integration is essential in order to optimise the opportunities afforded by legal immigration. The EU strongly promotes European cooperation and exchange of information on this matter.
- Reinforced dialogue and partnership with countries of origin and transit: In the framework of the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, a dialogue is taking place with countries of origin to improve the organisation of legal migration and facilitate mobility, and prevent and reduce irregular migration in an efficient but humane way.
- Measures against hiring undeclared workers: The EU has introduced specific measures targeting employers who hire undeclared migrant workers and also human trafficking networks and smugglers in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
2 - A modern and fair common European asylum system
The EPP Group has been the leading force behind the new rules on a modern set of rights for refugees: The EU is and remains an open area, but it is determined to combat abuse.
The year 2012 saw nearly a 10% increase in the number of asylum applicants compared to 2011, amounting to more than 330,000. More and more oppressed people cross the Mediterranean Sea, risking life and limb, hoping to find freedom within EU borders. The recent tragedies we have witnessed must not be ignored. As an area of open borders and freedom of movement, the EPP Group believes that it is the responsibility of the EU to respond to this worrying situation by adopting a coordinated approach to guarantee high standards of protection for refugees.
New rules on asylum: The new rules set common minimum standards on procedures, reception conditions and on the protection of fundamental rights of asylum seekers.
- Asylum Procedures Directive: Special protection for unaccompanied minors in refugees’ proceedings and improved legal aid procedures: quicker and fairer procedures and a real chance on labour markets for asylum seekers. Clarified rules for granting protection.
- Revised Reception Conditions Directive: Clear-cut rules for detention centres and full respect of the dignity of asylum seekers.
- Revision of Dublin Regulation which now enhances the protection of asylum seekers during the process of establishing which state is responsible for examining the application. This system detects early problems in national asylum and reception systems.
- Prevention of the abuse of asylum systems exploited by criminal organisations.
- Law enforcement access to the EU database of fingerprints of asylum seekers under strictly limited circumstances to prevent, detect or investigate serious crimes.