“We need to make substantial changes to asylum procedures in the EU. If necessary, building fences at our external borders should be eligible for EU funding - the European Commission should not refuse to finance such measures. Fences are always the last resort, but we need them wherever smuggling gangs successfully try to circumvent European law. We have also to answer the question of whether asylum applications could be made outside of the EU”, said Manfred Weber MEP, EPP Groups’ Chairman in the European Parliament, ahead of today's debate on migration in the Plenary Session.
The EPP Group adopted a position paper outlining its policy proposals on Asylum and Migration today.
“Europeans are fed up with never-ending discussions, they look to Europe to provide answers, and therefore the EPP Group adopted an updated position paper on migration today", Weber added. “We need to have a European policy that strongly protects the borders. We have to distinguish between refugees and economic migrants and effectively return all those who are not in need of international protection."
Jeroen Lenaers MEP, EPP Groups Coordinator, in the Civil Liberties and Home affairs Committee said: "We need a system that gives us the instruments to stand up against the despicable behaviour of countries like Turkey and Belarus who are instrumentalising migration and use people for their own political games. Furthermore, it is not sustainable that we leave it to NGOs to patrol the southern sea border. Civil society involvement is welcome, but we need a clear rulebook, defined by the EU. That is why we are calling for a code of conduct for NGOs performing search and rescue missions. In the preparation of such a Code of Conduct, the Commission should consult Frontex and the Member State’s authorities that are working on the front line at the first stage, and then other relevant actors such as civil society organisations” concluded Lenaers.
The EPP Group has been warning for months that we are slipping towards a new migration crisis. Nearly 330 000 people already crossed our external borders illegally last year. That is the highest number since 2016, which was a crisis year. However, the European asylum policy is still stuck in 2016, despite all the proposals from the European Commission and it doesn't work. 600,000 asylum applications are pending at this moment in the European Union. The recognition rate is less than 40% indicating that almost two-thirds of asylum applicants are not actually in need of international protection. That is why these figures should be a wake-up call, especially for the Council, which meets for a special Summit next week to come up with viable solutions in the area of asylum and migration.
The full text of the EPP Group's Position Paper on Migration is available here.
Note to editors
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 176 Members from all EU Member States