EU must take a leading role in global migration talks, EP says 

Press Releases 
Plenary session 
 
 
  • MEPs regret US decision to withdraw from the negotiations
  • Protection of children, opening of legal pathways and resettlement should be priorities
  • Call for more search and rescue capacities and recognition for NGOs work

The EU and its member states must take a leading role in the ongoing talks at global level with a view to agreeing two compacts for a better management of migration and refugee flows.

The European Parliament adopted on Wednesday a resolution backing the process initiated in 2016 during the UN General Assembly and its objectives of “developing a global governance regime for enhancing coordination on international migration, human mobility and large movements of refugees”. MEPs call for durable solutions and the protection of human rights.

 

The non-legislative resolution -approved with 516 votes to 137 with 43 abstentions- notes that human mobility and migration is a growing reality, with approximately 258 million international migrants worldwide, while the number of people living in forced displacement reached 65 million in 2015. MEPs underline that the biggest share of the world’s refugees (up to 84%) are hosted by developing countries, and roughly 10% are in Europe.

 

Protection of children

 

Protecting the children in migration should be a paramount objective of the global compacts, according to MEPs. “All children, irrespective of their migration or refugee status, are first and foremost children”, says the text, welcoming the commitments included in the drafts regarding the end of child detention, action concerning missing minors, supporting family reunification and ensuring access to the education and health systems.

 

Resettlement and legal pathways

 

Parliament defends a more equitable sharing of responsibility for hosting and supporting refugees globally, suggesting the adoption of a global mechanism to ensure a fairer distribution. Resettlement is a key element in this regard, say MEPs, who call on the EU countries “to do their part and to step up their commitment”.

 

The resolution also insists on the development of safe and legal avenues for refugees (such as humanitarian corridors, humanitarian visas and private sponsorship) and migrants, taking into consideration labour market needs, to prevent smuggling, abuses and loss of lives.

 

Recognition of the role of NGOs

 

Humanitarian assistance should not be criminalised, notes the Chamber. It calls for greater search and rescue capacities for people in distress, and for the “support provided by NGOs in carrying out rescue operations at sea and on land to be acknowledged”.

 

Promotion of the benefits of migration

 

After emphasizing that, despite challenges, migration is beneficial for both migrants and host communities, in economic and social terms, MEPs advocate a positive narrative on migrations and call for EU and international campaigns to draw attention to evidence and counteract racist and xenophobic tendencies in our societies

Background

 

The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2016, marked the beginning of multilateral negotiations for the adoption of two global compacts on refugees -with the objective of a fairer sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting refugees worldwide- and migration, aimed at ensuring adequate treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations.

 

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was tasked to develop the practical aspects of the Global Compact on refugees. A final text of the Global Compact on Refugees will be proposed by the High Commissioner for adoption by the UN General Assembly in 2018.

 

The discussions for the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration are conducted through intergovernmental negotiations, chaired by two co-facilitators (Mexico and Switzerland).