Instrumentalisation of migrants

EESC opinion: Instrumentalisation of migrants

Key points


  • Accepts the definition of "hybrid threat", and notes that this asks for a response that is not solely focused on international relations, but which also fits in with the EU's policies for the promotion of human rights, protection of migrants and right to asylum.
  • Considers that all instruments of cooperation between Member States and EU institutions and agencies must be strengthened so that crises are managed jointly. The approach of solidarity between Member States must be further pursued, also considering the importance which the Pact on Migration and Asylum places on border control and prevention of secondary movement.
  • Notes that, equally, the Regulation addressing situations of instrumentalisation in the field of migration and asylum for combating the instrumentalisation of migrants by a state should provide for solidarity and responsibility sharing among Member States, including swift relocation procedures proportional to the severity of the crisis.
  • Stresses that the proposed Regulation should set out legal commitments to address emergencies and guarantee migrant protection rights based on international obligations and EU law. Specifically, the laws adopted in Member States to tackle the current crisis and prevent future crises must respect basic and EU rights.
  • Considers that the Belarusian case is not the first attempt to instrumentalise migrants. The responses must go beyond the actions taken in previous crises, and need to avoid forming a dependence on the policies of third countries which are not compatible with EU principles.
  • Thinks that any derogations from the standard procedures for reception and asylum should be matched with specific safeguarding measures, and the principle of non-refoulement should be preserved.
  • Underlines that all actions meant to prevent this hybrid threat must always ensure that humanitarian assistance is offered to migrants under EU laws, especially in order to support vulnerable individuals. Humanitarian civil society organisations should be able to provide aid in the affected areas, and not be criminalised for their acts of solidarity.
  • Points out that, in the framework of the fight against disinformation and fake news meant to attract migrants to the EU border, maxim freedom of action must be ensured for independent media informing about the situation. The Commission must distinguish between communication tools used by traffickers and those used between migrants, in order not to criminalise the latter.