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 Full text 
Tuesday, 15 January 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Reform of the EU asylum and migration policy in light of the continued humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean and Africa (debate)

  Cecilia Wikström, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Madam President, a year and a half ago this Parliament approved with a two-thirds majority a pragmatic reform of the Dublin Regulation – after very difficult work, I must say. We managed to join five groups in a text that actually points out the need for a truly European compromise.

We voted for a proposal that would ensure solidarity between Member States; where every Member State would play a positive part in correcting the failures of the current system. We improved the Commission proposal by ensuring immediate registration and security screenings of applicants, reasonable balance, easing the burden on front-line Member States and a fair sharing of responsibilities for all.

Our text would incentivise applicants to work with the authorities instead of driving them to abscond and make use of smugglers. What I want to see is an orderly asylum system in Europe where those in need of protection who reach our shores would receive exactly that, and those that do not comply with the criteria would be sent back.

We did our homework in this House. What did the Member States do? They dug themselves deeper and deeper into the trenches. All of them seem to worry mostly about themselves and no one is ready to find a compromise.

Now I quote Commissioner Avramopoulos: ‘Open your eyes’. We are all time low on migration at this moment. And still there are a few that manage to reach our shores and we need to take full responsibility for them and we should do it jointly together. The result that we see from Member States now is that people rescued at sea have to wait for weeks in full despair and desperation as Member States haggle over their future. With every failure of the Member States the bar seems to be set lower and lower.

Believe me, judgment day will come and generations to come will ask all of us, why did you allow this to happen? Why? No one can give a full answer to that but we know that we managed to put systems together on everything except for human beings. The day has come for us to deliver.

(Scattered applause)

Last updated: 15 May 2019Legal notice