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Proċedura : 2009/0027(COD)
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Ċiklu relatat mad-dokument : A7-0118/2010

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A7-0118/2010

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PV 20/04/2010 - 13
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It-Tlieta, 20 ta' April 2010 - Strasburgu Edizzjoni riveduta

13. It-twaqqif ta' Uffiċċju Ewropew ta' Appoġġ fil-qasam tal-Asil (dibattitu)
Vidjow tat-taħditiet
Minuti
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  El Presidente. − El siguiente punto es la recomendación para la segunda lectura de Jean Lambert, en nombre de la Comisión de Libertades Civiles, Justicia y Asuntos de Interior, respecto de la Posición del Consejo en primera lectura con vistas a la adopción del Reglamento del Parlamento Europeo y del Consejo por el que se crea una Oficina Europea de Apoyo al Asilo (16626/2/2009 – C7-0049/2010 – 2009/0027(COD)) (A7-0118/2010).

 
  
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  Jean Lambert, rapporteur. − Mr President, I am not sure that inspiration is going to be what is on offer but this is obviously a very controversial topic that many Members in this House were terrified to come and speak about, so those of us who are brave enough to be here must seize the moment.

I want to start firstly by thanking very much all the shadows who worked on this report for their very active involvement and our ability to find a common negotiating position and act as something of a team. I also want to thank the two Presidencies involved – the Czech and particularly the Swedish Presidency – for their more open attitude on this than we have seen in some negotiations, as we were able to negotiate rather than feel we were there to do what Council wanted – well, sometimes anyway.

So, what did we achieve? The aim of the common European asylum support system is to deliver consistent high-quality decision-making for those in need of protection, and it really can be a matter of life or death for those in need. It is well known that the system is not delivered in a consistent way across Member States. Differences at times are so great between the best and the worst that there is a lack of confidence which can lead to those who try to deliver objective decisions feeling undermined by those who do not. And those who suffer at the end of the day are those in need of protection.

There is also a very strong feeling from some Member States under particular pressure that there is a lack of solidarity from others, that their need for support is not given a real practical response. Under the refugee fund, there has been a funding strand for cooperation between Member States which has led to some positive developments, but it has also become clear that there are limits to this more piecemeal approach.

The Asylum Support Office is therefore being set up to provide ongoing support to enhance a consistent approach and to provide active support for countries under particular pressure. Specific tasks are already being assigned to it via other legislation.

The key points for the European Parliament during the negotiations have been the role of the European Parliament itself in relation to the Asylum Support Office, how to achieve greater solidarity between the Member States, and the role of civil society and UNHCR with the Office.

The issues about the role of Parliament have centred around our relationship with the Director in terms of his or her appointment and ongoing links. We have eventually settled on the European Parliament hearing the recommended candidate, offering a confidential opinion and receiving feedback on how that is being taken into account.

The Director will also present the annual report to the relevant committee – I cannot quite believe we had to fight for that, but still – and we can also invite the Director to report on the performance of certain tasks.

The role of Parliament in relation to agencies is now a topic for discussion in the interinstitutional working group, and I am now a member of the European Parliament team on that – partly due to my experiences and a certain sense of frustration with the negotiations on the Asylum Support Office.

As regards solidarity between the Member States, Parliament wanted binding mechanisms, Council wanted to entrench the voluntary nature of cooperation, and the final language is more neutral, but we do have an external evaluation of the Asylum Support Office to look forward to, which will cover the Support Office’s impact on practical cooperation on asylum.

On the role of the consultative forum, there is a lot of real expertise available to Member States, and it seemed obvious to us that such expertise could be valuable. We know that some Member States have active relationships with NGOs, and we wanted as well to make sure that local authorities, which often deliver much of what is required under the common system, also had an opportunity to be included. So we are pleased to have been able to breathe a little more life into this body.

In conclusion, we feel that the Asylum Support Office could play a very valuable role in developing a common system. We hope it will be of high quality – even if we could not quite get that into the final text – and help engender a sense of mutual confidence and support. I would also ask the Member States involved to be more open to what other institutions, elected authorities and civil society can contribute, because, while this is about cooperation between Member States, it is not entirely intergovernmental. It is a European institution we are creating.

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I am really happy that we are now very close to a final adoption of the regulation establishing the European Asylum Support Office. The Commission proposed this back in February 2009, and the Council and Parliament have been extremely committed to this.

The establishment of a common asylum system has been an objective of the European Union for many years, and the Commission and myself remain very committed to this objective.

We must establish a system which is fair and efficient, based on common standards and common principles. This system should also be based on solidarity, and that means solidarity with the migrants, with the countries of origin and transit, and it also means solidarity between the Member States. In order to strengthen the solidarity between the Member States, practical cooperation between the different authorities in the area of asylum is important as a part of forming the European asylum system. To enhance this practical cooperation, the establishment of the Asylum Support Office was requested by the European Pact on Asylum and Migration of 2008 and agreed in the Stockholm Programme in 2009. The Support Office will therefore be a cornerstone in the building of a common asylum system.

The Support Office will, as you all know, be located in Valletta. It will provide concrete and operational support to Member States’ authorities, and will facilitate the development of the necessary cooperation between the Member States and the development of common practices. This will be achieved through training of individual persons dealing with asylum applications and through exchange of information and best practices. The Support Office will also provide assistance to Member States under particular pressure by sending expert teams which can help with the registration of asylum applications.

I would very much like to thank the European Parliament and all the rapporteurs responsible for this – Mrs Jean Lambert, of course, for her work, as well as Mr Moraes for the necessary amendments to the European Refugee Fund, and all the co-rapporteurs and shadow rapporteurs. Your full and constant support has been extremely valuable and I am looking forward to working with you on the final steps before this Office opens – hopefully very soon.

 
  
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  Simon Busuttil, f’isem il-grupp PPE. – Sur President, jien ukoll nixtieq nibda billi nifraħ lil Jean Lambert għar-rapport tagħha, għas suċċess li kellha fuq dan id-dossier u anke l-mod leali kif ikkoperat magħna, ix-shadow rapporteurs, fuq dan is-suġġett. Il-Partit Popolari Ewropew huwa pożittiv dwar it-twaqqif ta’ dan l-Uffiċċju ta’ Appoġġ fil-Qasam tal-Ażil għax iqis dan bħala pass importanti ’l quddiem fit-twaqqif u t-tħaddim tal-politika komuni dwar l-ażil fl-Unjoni Ewropea. Ovvjament, fuq livell personali, bħala deputat li ġej minn Malta, jiena kburi wkoll, u mhux biss sodisfatt, li dan l-Uffiċċju se jitwaqqaf fil-belt kapitali ta’ pajjiżi, il-belt Valletta. Irrid ngħid illi l-Uffiċċju għandu jagħraf li l-politika komuni dwar l-ażil trid tinbena fuq kelma waħda, kif diġà ssemma, is-solidarjetà: is-solidarjetà ma’ dawk in-nies li jiġu lejn l-Ewropa u jixtiequ kenn mill-Ewropa u li għandhom id-dritt għal protezzjoni mill-Ewropa, u dan l-Uffiċċju għandu jara li ngħadduhilhom, u solidarjetà wkoll, kif qalet il-Kummissarju tant tajjeb, ma’ dawk il-pajjiżi Membri tal-Unjoni Ewropea li s’issa jinsabu waħedhom iġorru l-piż kollu, mingħajr ma dan il-piż jinqasam. Allura, irridu li din is-solidarjetà tinftiehem fis-sens sħiħ tagħha, għax dan qisek għandek żewġ faċċati tal-istess munita, solidarjetà ma’ min ħaqqu l-protezzjoni, solidarjetà mal-pajjiżi membri li qed iġorru piż sproporzjonat. Irrid ngħid li s’issa jidher li dan il-messaġġ dwar l-importanza tas-solidarjetà nftiehem, imma għadna fuq il-livell li nifhmu l-messaġġ. Jien nixtieq li issa ngħaddu għall-prattika u nattwaw dan il-prinċipju. U hemm għandu rwol qawwi l-Uffiċċju li se jitwaqqaf - li jlaħħam dan il-prinċipju, li jattwah, u li jara li, permezz ta’ inizjattivi speċifiċi li jieħu, ikollna solidarjetà tassew ma’ min jistħoqqlu din is-solidarjetà. Għaldaqstant, nawgura li dan l-Uffiċċju jibda jaħdem mill-akar fis u nixtieq nassigura wkoll li aħna, bħala Membri tal-Parlament, se nkunu qed insegwu mill-viċin l-operat tiegħu fix-xhur u s-snin li ġejjin.

 
  
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  Sylvie Guillaume, au nom du groupe S&D. – Monsieur le Président, mes chers collègues, je souhaite tout d'abord féliciter, moi aussi, Mme Lambert et également M. Moraes pour l'excellent travail qu'ils ont réalisé et qui nous permettra, dans quelques jours, dès lors que la situation aérienne sera rentrée dans l'ordre, d'adopter formellement le règlement portant création du Bureau européen d'appui en matière d'asile. Nous serons donc, j'imagine, unanimes sur un point: nous réjouir de la création prochaine de ce bureau.

Résolument tourné vers la coopération pratique, le Bureau permettra de réduire les sérieux écarts qui persistent entre les pratiques des différents États membres en matière d'asile, et ce malgré une première phase, dite d'harmonisation, entamée avec Tampere. Cet organe nous permettra d'assurer la cohérence qui fait aujourd'hui défaut dans les pratiques actuelles.

Je souhaite également souligner le rôle important que la société civile, au travers de sa participation aux forums consultatifs, aura dans ce bureau. Celle-ci apportera, par son action de terrain, une vision éclairée des difficultés rencontrées par les demandeurs d'asile et également sur des carences des systèmes nationaux.

Mais nous devons reconnaître qu'un certain goût amer subsiste dans cette affaire. Pour le Parlement européen, c'est le regret de ne pouvoir jouer un rôle à part entière dans la nomination du directeur du Bureau, par exemple. Et, pour le Bureau lui-même, c'est l'impossibilité de prendre part à la mise en place d'un système de solidarité obligatoire entre les États membres pour soulager les pays situés aux portes de l'Union européenne.

Dans la pratique, cette solidarité volontaire se paie de mots. Or, si l'on refuse même d'évoquer un système plus contraignant, comment pourrions-nous y parvenir? Cette question reste toujours d'actualité dans nos débats, et nous continuerons à le rappeler à nos interlocuteurs, Conseil et Commission.

La création de ce bureau illustre parfaitement le besoin de mettre en place un régime européen d'asile commun. Tous les États membres appellent ceci de leurs vœux, lorsqu'il s'agit de déclarations comme celle du pacte européen pour l'asile et l'immigration en 2008. Mais, étrangement, ces mêmes États membres semblent frappés d'amnésie, lorsqu'il s'agit de passer des mots aux actes et de traduire dans les textes leurs engagements en faveur de règles communes.

Il est par exemple fort regrettable de constater l'empressement avec lequel le Conseil adopte toute une série de mesures dans la lutte contre l'immigration clandestine, comme lors du dernier Conseil JAI de février. Mais il se montre plus frileux dans les négociations sur le paquet "asile", bloqué depuis plusieurs mois déjà. Plutôt qu'un affichage purement et opportunément politique, opéré au travers de mesures répressives, j'appelle les États membres à construire véritablement une Europe de la solidarité.

D'une part, nous savons que ces mesures répressives menacent sensiblement le droit d'accès à l'asile en Europe pour les personnes qui, en raison de la multiplication des filtrages et autres barrières, entreprennent des voyages de plus en plus périlleux. D'autre part, l'Europe pourrait enfin s'enorgueillir d'une réelle harmonisation des procédures d'asile, fondée sur l'octroi de véritables garanties aux demandeurs d'asile.

On le voit, sur le paquet "asile", les résistances des États sont fortes et la tendance est au maintien de pratiques nationales. Ces résistances trouvent un écho retentissant dans des arguments sur les coûts budgétaires d'une telle politique commune, qui paraîtraient insupportables dans un contexte de crise. La responsabilité européenne est pourtant immense face à l'asile.

Insistons sur le fait qu'à ce jour, ce sont en grande majorité des pays tiers, moins bien lotis que nous, qui assument leur part dans l'accueil des réfugiés. Souhaitons donc que ce paquet "asile" rencontre rapidement autant de succès que celui du Bureau, car il est urgent d'agir.

 
  
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  Marie-Christine Vergiat, au nom du groupe GUE/NGL. – Monsieur le Président, Madame la Commissaire, mes chers collègues, le droit d'asile fait partie des valeurs fondamentales de l'Union et nul n'ose, publiquement, dans ses discours, le remettre en cause. Pourtant, la réalité des politiques européennes et de ses États membres en ce domaine pose question.

C'est en 1999 que l'Union européenne a commencé à harmoniser ses politiques en la matière et l'on semble aujourd'hui se féliciter de voir la chute spectaculaire du nombre de demandeurs d'asile. À la GUE/NGL, nous pourrions aussi nous en féliciter, si un tel chiffre était le reflet de l'amélioration de la situation des droits de l'homme à travers le monde. Nous savons toutes et tous qu'il n'en est rien. S'il en était besoin, nos débats du jeudi après-midi, quand ils ont lieu, sont là pour le prouver.

Depuis 2004, notamment, c'est à une harmonisation vers le bas des procédures et des conditions d'accueil que nous avons assisté. Des écarts de pratique considérables entre les pays existent et nous savons qu'une partie des demandes ont été externalisées et que certains demandeurs, aujourd'hui, n'ont même plus l'occasion de déposer ces demandes. La palme en matière de diminution du nombre de demandeurs revient à la France. La militante des droits de l'homme en France que je suis est bien placée pour savoir à quoi ces résultats sont dus. Il suffit d'avoir accompagné une seule fois un demandeur d'asile dans les services de l'OFPRA pour savoir ce qu'il en est. Voir la façon dont ces hommes et ces femmes sont sommés de présenter les preuves des actes de torture qu'ils ont subis est insupportable.

La proposition que nous examinons aujourd'hui apparaît donc comme une bouffée d'air. Elle contribue à améliorer la mise en œuvre d'un régime européen du droit d'asile. Elle vise à favoriser la coopération pratique entre les États membres, notamment en améliorant l'accès à des informations précises sur les pays d'origine, et c'est une bonne chose. La plupart des propositions faites par le Parlement européen en première lecture ont été retenues par le Conseil et nous savons que nous le devons principalement à la présidence suédoise. Soyez-en remerciée. J'ajouterai que la Suède est pour moi, en quelque sorte, un modèle et j'aimerais beaucoup que d'autres pays s'alignent sur elle en ce domaine.

En première lecture comme en deuxième lecture, en commission, nous avons soutenu notre rapporteure et je tiens, moi aussi, à la féliciter et à la remercier. Nous ferons de même en séance plénière et nous souhaitons vivement que cette petite avancée constitue un nouveau tournant dans la politique européenne en la matière. Qu'au lieu que l'Europe se replie sur elle-même dans ce que nous osons ici, sur ces bancs, appeler l'Europe forteresse, nous puissions au contraire accueillir ces hommes et ces femmes qui ont droit à l'asile, comme le proclament les textes internationaux et la convention européenne des droits de l'homme, que nous allons bientôt ratifier.

 
  
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  Mario Borghezio, a nome del gruppo EFD. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ho sentito indicare come ratio di questo provvedimento la solidarietà. A mio modesto avviso manca una gamba, quella della sicurezza.

Eppure, basta parlare con chi pratica queste questioni, per esempio le forze dell'ordine – io ho la fortuna di aver fatto il viaggio anche in questa occasione con personale delle forze dell'ordine, i Carabinieri dell'ufficio scorte di Torino, voglio ricordare i loro nomi, Romanini e Tavano – e mi dicevano: guardi onorevole che in molti casi questi richiedenti asilo presentano carte false, documenti, ci sono casi segnalati da varie polizie, vari organi.

Vogliamo deciderci a esaminare questo aspetto anche dal punto di vista della sicurezza? Non mi pare che in questo documento l'aspetto sicurezza sia fortemente segnalato, eppure è molto importante, perché dobbiamo evitare di inquinare un principio, un istituto importante di grande valore umanitario come il diritto d'asilo con gli interessi sporchi di chi fa traffici di clandestini e si serve spesso dello strumento dell'asilo per infiltrare persone che non hanno diritto e non hanno nessuna parentela con chi è veramente perseguitato.

Secondo aspetto: l'articolo 2 del regolamento recita che l'ufficio faciliterà la cooperazione fra Stati membri per una migliore attuazione del sistema comune d'asilo, anche per quanto riguarda la dimensione esterna. L'articolo 7 dovrebbe precisarlo, ma lo fa solo molto vagamente, dice solo che l'ufficio può stabilire forme di cooperazione con i paesi terzi su aspetti tecnici.

Io credo che si debba andare molto in là e mi domando per quale motivo non si parla, non si esamina – è stato proposto da più parti, anche da noi – la proposta di istituire questi uffici anche nei paesi terzi? Che cosa lo impedisce? Io credo che sarebbe molto importante filtrare, anche per alleggerire il lavoro e la situazione dei paesi che devono affrontare più direttamente, qualcuno ha parlato dell'esigenza di questi paesi, ma questi paesi vanno sostenuti, e io credo che l'istituzione di uffici nei paesi terzi, per esempio nell'Africa del nord, nella zona subsahariana dove si addensano molte richieste e molti richiedenti.

Bisognerebbe filtrare là, con interventi che coinvolgerebbero anche, magari con l'utilizzazione del nostro servizio esterno diplomatico dell'Unione europea, la responsabilità di certi paesi del terzo mondo, bisogna responsabilizzarli sulla questione dell'asilo.

Credo che questi aspetti siano molto importanti e non dobbiamo prescindere da questo e non dobbiamo neanche dimenticare le esigenze dei paesi europei del Mediterraneo su cui si impattano queste esigenze, non a parole, non mandandogli qualche funzionario, burocrati ne abbiamo già noi in Italia, abbiamo bisogno di soldi, di mezzi, di sostegni veri per affrontare tale situazione.

Qualcuno ha detto: in Svezia andiamo molto bene, sì, in Svezia, molto lontana però dalle esigenze di Malta, dell'Italia, della Francia, del Mediterraneo, è qui che c'è il problema, e va affrontato – e bisogna responsabilizzare i paesi dell'Unione europea – onori e oneri, voglio dire, noi che abbiamo gli oneri dovremmo anche avere i mezzi.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI). - Herr Präsident! Eine einheitliche Anwendung von Asylrechtsregelungen zur Minderung einer Sekundäremigration innerhalb der EU zur Unterstützung jener Mitgliedstaaten, die einen besonders hohen Ansturm von Asylanten zu bewältigen haben, ist sicherlich keine schlechte Idee. Aber es bestehen doch erhebliche Zweifel, ob die Neuschaffung dieses Unterstützungsbüros zur Verbesserung überhaupt erforderlich ist und ob diese nicht zu stark in die Kompetenzen der Mitgliedstaaten eingreift.

Die Errichtung der Agentur ist ein weiterer Schritt in Richtung Zentralisierung der EU-Asylpolitik. Insgesamt wird ein deutlich hohes Schutzniveau, das sich am Handeln der großzügigsten Mitgliedstaaten, wie z. B. Österreich, orientiert, angestrebt. Bestehende Unterschiede sollen abgebaut werden, wobei die großzügigeren Länder auf Kurs bleiben und die anderen sich anpassen sollen. Das ging alles sehr gut, doch die ausufernde Gründung und Aufgabenerweiterung von EU-Agenturen – wir haben seit 2000 eine Verdreifachung – widerspricht klar dem Bestreben der Lissabon-Strategie nach Deregulierung und Subsidiarität.

Das viel angesprochene Ziel einer zirkulären Migration – ein bisschen da, ein bisschen dort, zeitweise hier – halte ich für absolut verfehlt. In der Praxis funktioniert das nicht, und aus einer zirkulären Migration wird häufig eine dauerhafte. Weitere Kritikpunkte sind natürlich auch zu vermerken: Unrealistische Schubhaftbedingungen gehen auf Kosten der Sicherheit und auf Kosten unserer Exekutive. Eine Ausdehnung des Familienbegriffs bis zur Großmutter hin wird auch hier zu einem weiteren Zuzug einladen, und erleichterter Arbeitsmarktzugang in Zeiten hoher Arbeitslosenzahlen ist untragbar.

Die Erweiterung der Grundversorgung auf das Niveau von Ländern wie Österreich und Deutschland ist unfinanzierbar. Das neue Asylbüro ist daher nicht zweckmäßig und sollte eingespart werden. Eine gemeinsame Asylstrategie muss von Grund auf überdacht werden, denn so, wie Sie sie empfehlen, wird das in den betroffenen Ländern jedenfalls nicht funktionieren.

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Παπανικολάου (PPE). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, πράγματι είναι εξαιρετικά σημαντική η ίδρυση της Ευρωπαϊκής Υπηρεσίας Υποστήριξης για το Άσυλο, και έτσι, συμβολικά, θεωρώ ως σημαντικό το γεγονός ότι αυτή πραγματοποιείται στην Μάλτα, σε μια χώρα του ευρωπαϊκού νότου που δέχεται μεγάλες πιέσεις τόσο από εκείνους που αιτούνται άσυλο, όσο και στα πλαίσια των θεμάτων της παράνομης μετανάστευσης.

Είναι πολύ σημαντικό να ενισχυθεί, να συντονιστεί ακόμη περισσότερο η συνεργασία μεταξύ των κρατών μελών σε θέματα ασύλου και τελικά να προσπαθήσουμε να καταλήξουμε σε μια ενιαία προσέγγιση ανάμεσα σε διαφορετικές εθνικές πρακτικές, τη στιγμή μάλιστα που όλοι αναγνωρίζουμε τις μεγάλες διαφορές που υπάρχουν. Για παράδειγμα, και αυτά τα στοιχεία είναι στη διάθεση και της Επιτροπής, αλλά πιστεύω ότι ήδη τα γνωρίζει, ένας Ιρακινός που αιτείται άσυλο μπορεί να έχει 71% πιθανότητα να γίνει δεκτή αυτή η αίτηση σε ένα κράτος μέλος, ενώ σε κάποιο άλλο κράτος μέλος για το ίδιο άτομο οι πιθανότητες αυτές μπορεί να είναι μόνο 2%, ενώ βεβαίως υπάρχουν και διαφορετικά προβλήματα ανάμεσα στα κράτη μέλη.

Η συμφωνία Δουβλίνο 2 είναι δεδομένο επίσης ότι επιβαρύνει περισσότερο κάποια κράτη μέλη σε σχέση με άλλα, και βεβαίως αυτή η υπηρεσία για το άσυλο έρχεται να υποστηρίξει και τους μηχανισμούς αλληλεγγύης που προσφέρονται και μέσα από το Ευρωπαϊκό Ταμείο Προσφύγων. Αναφέρομαι, στη μεταφορά και στην επανεγκατάσταση προσφύγων τόσο σε ό, τι αφορά τους πρόσφυγες από τρίτες χώρες στην Ευρώπη, όσο βεβαίως και στο αποκαλούμενο "re-allocation" την εσωτερική επανεγκατάσταση προσφύγων.

Σε ό, τι αφορά την επανεγκατάσταση από τρίτες χώρες κάνουμε μικρά μεν βήματα, αλλά προσπαθούμε. Σε ό, τι αφορά όμως - και αυτό θέλω να το τονίσω στην αξιότιμη κύρια Επίτροπο - την εσωτερική επανεγκατάσταση προσφύγων, παρά το γεγονός ότι όλοι αναγνωρίζουμε ότι υπάρχουν μεγαλύτερα βάρη σε κάποια κράτη μέλη, κυρίως στον ευρωπαϊκό νότο, σε σχέση με κάποια άλλα, δεν έχουμε κάνει καμία ειδική πρόταση, δεν έχουμε πάρει καμιά πρωτοβουλία για τα θέματα αυτά. Αναμένουμε τις προτάσεις της Επιτροπής, έχουμε στείλει και σχετική επιστολή στα πλαίσια της Επιτροπής LIBE και αν μη τι άλλο πρέπει να δείξουμε μεγαλύτερη τόλμη σ' αυτά τα θέματα γιατί οι πιέσεις είναι πολύ μεγάλες.

Κλείνοντας κύριε Πρόεδρε θέλω να καταλήξω με το εξής: Είναι πολύ σημαντικό να αναπτύξουμε μηχανισμούς στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση για την υποδοχή προσφύγων, για την αποδοχή αιτήσεων για άσυλο. Όχι μόνο για ανθρωπιστικούς λόγους καθώς και για λόγους που έχουν αναφερθεί ήδη από τους άλλους συναδέλφους, αλλά και για να καταπολεμήσουμε την παράνομη μετανάστευση. Πρέπει να δώσουμε σε όλους εκείνους που ψάχνουν μια καλύτερη πατρίδα, ένα καλύτερο μέλλον, το μήνυμα ότι στην Ευρώπη, αναζητώντας κανείς τις νόμιμες οδούς, έχει τελικά καλύτερες πιθανότητες, παρά να επιλέξει την οδό της παράνομης μετανάστευσης που δυστυχώς ασκεί πολύ μεγάλες πιέσεις .

 
  
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  John Bufton (EFD). - Mr President, the establishment of a European Asylum Support Office goes totally against the British opt-out on immigration and is at odds with the UK rejection of the Schengen acquis. The proposal that EUR 40 million will be spent establishing and staffing an entire office in Malta to deal with asylum seekers across the EU suggests that this Commission wants to make the decisions that should be left to national governments.

Any common European asylum policy threatens British sovereignty over border control. Repeated appeals to let the UK decide who comes in and out of the country, and who can be accommodated, arise from the fact that we have a huge population problem that is quite unlike the situation anywhere else in Europe.

The Commission does not offer help and support when the UK is struggling. Instead it will take the money of the British taxpayer to cover the cost of making our decisions on our behalf. EUR 40 million would be better directed towards building new schools, hospitals and houses in the UK as well as affording critical services such as clean water, desperately needed if we are to continue providing a decent First World quality of life for everyone.

One in four births are to mothers who themselves were not born in the UK, that is 170 000 births a year. Where is the money to help the British taxpayer afford all this? In your pocket or spent on setting up a new asylum office which will no doubt pile more pressure on to the UK?

In our election campaigns, all the parties in the UK are promising to do something about immigration because the people back home are demanding something should be done. But what can Westminster do as long as we are in the EU, because at exactly the same time the European Commission wants all the powers over asylum seekers passed to them?

Time and again this Commission has shown only disregard for the wants and needs of the UK people. Is it the Commission’s intention to repeal the UK opt-out in this area too? The people back home deserve your honesty because this issue is extremely important to them. You are supposed to represent them and they deserve to know what you have planned.

 
  
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  Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, signora Commissario, non bisogna ammantare di solidarismo un ufficio che deve supportare una procedura per accertare le reali condizioni dei richiedenti asilo.

Noi riteniamo che questo sia un fatto importante, utile, ma deve garantire da un lato più celerità nel concedere asilo a chi ne ha effettivamente diritto, dall'altro utile anche a garantire fermezza verso chi vuole abusare di questo strumento non avendone i titoli, perché è evidente che tra gli aventi diritto non tutti lo ottengono.

Vorrei poi molto brevemente richiamare quanto detto dal collega Borghezio, ci sono alcuni paesi, l'Italia, il sud dell'Italia da cui io provengo, che sono naturalmente la porta di accesso per una immigrazione e che proprio sulle richieste di asilo vedono i loro territori particolarmente, storicamente dediti all'accoglienza, ma particolarmente impegnati.

Occorre che l'Europa si faccia carico di questo e che quei territori che sono più prossimi all'accoglienza siano territori su cui si concentrino anche impegni e sforzi, anche economici, dell'Unione europea.

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, I am grateful for the strong support for creating this agency by a majority of this plenary. As you know, there has been a unanimous demand from Member States to create this agency, even those under opt-out, who know that the Commission has no intention of forcing any changes in the UK opt-out. That is the decision of the UK people.

But there has also been a strong support in this plenary for an agency, and I am very glad that it is going to be created now. We know that, especially in certain seasons, there is a great pressure on the countries in the Mediterranean, and this agency can help and support. There are also migrants coming to northern, eastern, western and central Europe, so this is an agency for the whole of Europe, even if it is no coincidence that it is located in Valetta.

It is not just another agency. It is in fact a cornerstone in building a common asylum system and it will be an important instrument in supporting Member States, in helping develop practices and common standards, and in supporting Member States under particular pressure. It would gather information, it would put up a portal, it would have experts etc. Ultimately it is always up to the Member States as to who can stay, but there are certain procedures which need to be harmonised.

As some of you have said, this is part of developing a common asylum system in Europe. This is just one part: as I think the rapporteur said, we are stuck when it comes to the rest of the asylum package. The Commission counts on the help and support of the European Parliament in moving on with these issues so that, within the not too distant future, we can indeed establish a common asylum policy in the European Union.

 
  
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  Jean Lambert, rapporteur. − Mr President, I would like to just take an opportunity to clear up one or two questions which have arisen, although it is a pity that some of those asking the questions are not around for the answers.

Asylum obligations are clearly set out under international conventions which all Member States have individually signed up to. That is not the same as an immigration policy, and people really should recognise the difference.

For those who are concerned about the money – if I may make a party political and national political point here – if certain of our Member States stopped creating asylum-seekers from Iraq and Afghanistan, I am sure we could save a lot more money and indeed save people a lot more misery.

As regards some of the other points which were raised, it is hoped that improving the quality of the system in certain Member States will be able to increase confidence between Member States and deblock some of the other parts of the asylum system, as well as helping Member States feel that there is support when they are facing particular burdens. As others have pointed out, while some of our Member States do have considerable geographical pressures on them from the flows which arrive, many of the over-burdened countries are actually not in the European Union at all but are elsewhere.

I was very interested to hear a colleague arguing for additional support out there, in terms of the Asylum Support Office, but I am afraid I missed the amendments which he tabled on that topic.

I also want to be clear that the Asylum Support Office is not there to determine status; it is not taking over the role of Member States in that field.

All in all, I welcome the kind comments made by colleagues, I welcome the active involvement of those who have helped me very much on this report, and I am sure that we are all looking forward – or most of us anyway – to being there in Valletta when the ribbon is cut on the Asylum Support Office and we can begin work.

 
  
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  El Presidente. − Voy a cerrar el debate. No lo haré, sin embargo, sin comentar con gran emoción que no es para mí un hecho neutral el que haya presidido este debate quien a lo largo de 14 años de su vida disfrutó de derecho de asilo con la generosidad y la hospitalidad de los Gobiernos y pueblos de Francia, Austria y Bélgica, a los que rindo aquí homenaje de agradecimiento, porque el agradecimiento no prescribe, aunque eso sucediera ya hace más de 40 años.

Se cierra el debate.

La votación tendrá lugar durante el período parcial de sesiones de la primera semana de mayo.

Declaraciones por escrito (artículo 149 del Reglamento)

 
  
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  Ioan Enciu (S&D), în scris. Crearea Biroului European de Sprijin pentru Azil constituie o etapă foarte importantă în stabilirea unui Sistem European Comun pentru Azil, aşa cum sunt prevăzute în Pactul european cu privire la imigraţie şi azil şi în Programul de la Stockholm.

Biroul va contribui la intensificarea cooperării între instituţiile europene, autorităţile locale şi societatea civilă şi va identifica practicile comune în materie de azil. Îmi exprim încrederea că acest lucru va duce la apropierea poziţiilor statelor membre în ceea ce priveşte politicile în materie de azil. Acest lucru este foarte necesar din considerentul că unele state membre se confruntă cu fluxuri mari de solicitanţi de azil şi e nevoie de cooperare şi solidaritate între statele membre atât pentru a ajuta aceste state să facă faţă problemelor cu care se confruntă, cât şi pentru a îmbunătăţi Sistemul European Comun pentru Azil.

Ţin să menţionez că acest sistem se va baza, din punct de vedere legal şi practic, pe aplicarea deplină şi globală a Convenţiei europene pentru apărarea drepturilor omului şi libertăţilor fundamentale.

 
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