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S&Ds on Home Affairs Council’s Migration Declaration: "Important step forward, but not enough"

Date

13 Jun 2022

Sections

Justice & Home Affairs

At their meeting in Luxembourg today, EU home ministers agreed on a solidarity declaration that includes a voluntary distribution mechanism for refugees, especially for sea rescue cases, and negotiating positions for the screening and Eurodac regulations.

The S&D Group welcomes the important step forward, but urges the Council to address the imbalance in the agreement between the binding rules on screening procedures and the Eurodac database on the one hand, and the voluntary nature of the distribution mechanism on the other. The agreement should in no way undermine the solidarity pillar included in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, a fundamental aspect for the Socialists and Democrats to find long-term sustainable solutions to face unexpected future crises, such as the impact of war in Ukraine.

Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said the detail of the solidarity declaration would be developed in the coming days.

Birgit Sippel MEP, S&D spokesperson for home affairs, said:

"The solidarity declaration has the potential to be an important step towards building mutual trust between EU member states. However, the agreement can only be the beginning of a solution. National governments' debates on asylum reform have been so stagnant that even a voluntary, legally non-binding declaration in the Council is a significant step forward. For some it may come as a disappointment, but it is important to now build on this. The French Presidency is promoting a balance between responsibility and solidarity, which can only be achieved if both elements are on the same level from a legal point of view. However, that is not the case with this agreement. A possible new screening procedure and the revision of the Eurodac database for asylum seekers would be regulations that all EU member states would have to implement in a binding manner. The solidarity mechanism, on the other hand, is so far based only on a voluntary declaration of intent by selected member states, which is not legally enforceable and so stands on shaky ground.

“The legal imbalance will face resistance in Parliament and the Council must address this as quickly as possible in order to implement the EU asylum reform during this legislative period. In addition to the solidarity declaration, the current experience with refugees from Ukraine can also help. Even if not everything is running smoothly, it has been shown that it is possible to deal with refugees in the EU in an open manner and in a spirit of solidarity. Here, we need to learn the right lessons about integration into our societies, including in education and in employment, and apply them to all people in need of protection."

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