Asylum and migration: Civil Liberties committee endorses a new legal framework 

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  • Member states can choose between hosting asylum applicants or making financial contributions or to provide operational support 
  • Improved identification at arrival, including facial image and fingerprints, covering children from the age of six 
  • Asylum claims to be examined more quickly 
  • Mandatory security and health checks for people entering the EU irregularly 
  • Addressing crisis situations and instrumentalisation of migrants and asylum applicants 
  • Updated reception and qualification standards 
  • New and voluntary EU framework to offer resettlement opportunities 

MEPs on Wednesday confirmed at the committee level the legislative texts on migration and asylum policy as agreed with EU member states.

Solidarity and responsibility

The provisional agreement on the regulation on asylum and migration management, by rapporteur Tomas TOBÉ (SE, EPP), was backed by 41 votes in favour 24 against and 2 abstentions.

The new asylum and migration management regulation foresees mandatory solidarity for EU countries recognised as being under migratory pressure. Member states can choose between relocating asylum applicants to their territory, making financial contributions or by providing operational and technical support, when needed. The text also determines new criteria according to which a member state is responsible for examining international protection applications (ex-Dublin rules).

Addressing situations of crisis

The provisional agreement on crisis situations regulation, by rapporteur Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR (ES, S&D), was confirmed with 37 votes in favour 26 against and 4 abstentions.

The crisis and force majeure regulation establishes a mechanism to ensure solidarity and support for member states facing an exceptional influx of third-country nationals. The new rules will also cover situations of instrumentalisation of migrants, i.e. when migrants are used by third-countries or hostile non-state actors to destabilise the EU. Based on a Commission assessment, mandatory solidarity measures and derogations of screening and asylum procedures are decided by the Council.

Screening of third-country nationals

The provisional agreement on the screening regulation, by rapporteur Birgit SIPPEL (DE, S&D), was confirmed with 48 votes in favour, 16 against and 2 abstentions. For the centralised system on conviction information (ECRIS-TCN) the result was 48 votes in favour 16 against and 2 abstentions.

Under the new screening regulation, people who do not fulfil the conditions to enter the EU will be subject to a pre-entry screening procedure, including identification, collecting biometric data, health and security checks, for up to seven days. The specific needs of children will be taken into account and each member state will have an independent monitoring mechanism to ensure respect of fundamental rights.

Faster asylum procedures

The provisional agreement on the asylum procedure regulation, by rapporteur Fabienne KELLER (France, Renew), was confirmed by 40 votes in favour 23 against and 4 abstentions.

The asylum procedures regulation establishes a common procedure across the EU to grant and to withdraw international protection, replacing different procedures used in member states. Processing asylum claims should be faster, with shorter limits for manifestly unfounded or inadmissible claims and at EU borders. It includes a border return procedure.

Eurodac regulation

The provisional agreement on Eurodac database, by rapporteur Jorge BUXADÉ VILLALBA (ES, ECR), was confirmed with 48 votes in favour, 17 against and 2 abstentions.

The reformed Eurodac database will serve to identify those arriving irregularly to the EU territory more effectively, adding facial images to fingerprints, including for children from six years old. Authorities will also be able to record if someone could present a security threat or was violent or armed.

Qualifications standards

The provisional agreement on the rules on qualifications standards, by rapporteur Matjaž NEMEC (SI, S&D), was confirmed with 42 votes in favour, 24 against and 1 abstention.

The new rules will set uniform standards across the EU for the recognition of people applying for international protection and regarding the type of rights granted to those that qualify for such protection. Greater convergence and harmonisation between asylum decisions in member states should be obtained through the use of common analysis on the situation in the country of origin, as provided by the EU Asylum Agency, as well as systematic and regular status reviews.

Receiving asylum applicants

The provisional agreement on modified reception conditions rules, by rapporteur Sophia IN 'T VELD (NL, Renew), was confirmed with 47 votes in favour, 14 against and 6 abstentions.

The main aim of the revised reception conditions directive is to ensure equivalent reception standards across EU member states when it comes to material conditions, including housing, health care and an adequate standard of living for asylum applicants. Registered asylum applicants will be able to start working sooner and their integration prospects will improve. The new rules should also discourage applicants from moving around the EU after their initial registration.

Safe and legal way to Europe

The provisional agreement on a new EU Resettlement framework, by rapporteur Malin BJÖRK (SE, The Left), was confirmed with 53 votes in favour, 14 against and no abstentions.

Member states will participate in the scheme by offering resettlement on a voluntary basis to particularly vulnerable refugees staying in third countries. Persons presented for resettlement, identified in most cases by the UNHCR, and accepted by a particular member state, will be able to reach EU territory in a legal, organized and safe way. They will be offered long-term and durable solutions to their displacement with legal status. New rules aim to reduce divergences between national approaches and lead to a more streamlined EU policy.

Next steps

The texts await a formal adoption in an upcoming Parliament plenary session and final Council endorsement.