Fundamental rights: MEPs highlight effects of deterring migrants and austerity  

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The fundamental rights of asylum seekers in the EU could be infringed by reception centre conditions, "hot returns", barbed wire and other deterrence measures, say MEPs in a non-binding resolution voted on Tuesday. The text also states concerns about the impact of austerity measures on EU citizens' economic, civil, social and cultural rights and calls on the European Commission to set up a "scoreboard" to monitor democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in EU member states.

The non-legislative resolution, approved by 360 votes to 291, with 58 abstentions, addresses the fundamental rights situation in the EU in 2013-2014.

Fundamental rights of migrants and asylum seekers

The EU and its member states should put solidarity and respect for fundamental rights of migrants and asylum seekers at the core of EU migration policies, MEPs say. The EU and its member states should take "energetic and compulsory measures to prevent further tragedies at sea", they add, also calling for "the establishment of an effective and harmonised EU asylum system for the fair distribution of asylum seekers among member states".

MEPs express concern about “hot return” procedures, migrant reception and detention centres in member states and negative stereotypes and misinformation about migrants. The resolution also condemns security measures at EU borders "which now sometimes even take the form of walls and barbed wire", and calls for "fundamental rights-sensitive border controls".

Impact of austerity measures on fundamental rights

MEPs deplore the way in which the financial, economic and sovereign debt crisis along with budgetary restrictions has "negatively affected economic, civil, social and cultural rights".

When deciding and implementing corrective measures and budget cuts, the EU institutions and member states should do fundamental rights impact assessments and guarantee that sufficient resources are made available to safeguard fundamental rights, MEPs say. They add that "minimum essential levels of civil economic, cultural and social rights", in particular for the most vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups, must be ensured.

Monitoring fundamental rights in EU member states

The Commission should set up a scoreboard using "common and objective" indicators by which "democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights will be measured", says the text. . This scoreboard should provide the basis for constant monitoring and a "system of annual country assessment", it adds.

“We see basic violations of these fundamental rights across the face of Europe on a daily basis", said lead MEP Laura Ferrara (EFDD, IT), in Monday's plenary debate, adding that "we have to know what is happening in EU member states, because that would mean that the European institutions could take the necessary steps to protect those fundamental rights".

Note to editors


The resolution on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU 2013-2014, is Parliament's reply to the Commission's annual report on fundamental rights in the Union.


In addition to the issues mentioned here, it also comments on the rights of other groups, such as children, LGBTI-people, religious and ethnic minorities and homeless, and addresses issues such as freedom of speech, media freedom, anti-terrorism measures, privacy violations, surveillance and hate speech.