Migration och asyl - Related Opinions
The EESC highly appreciates the first activation of the Temporary Protection Directive 2001/55/EC in the context of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The current activation of the Directive could well be used to develop solidarity mechanisms among the Member States. It strongly supports an urgent need for effective, genuine, humane – and humanitarian – common European regulations on migration, asylum and security cooperation in an open, but equally secure Schengen area, in full accordance with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The consequences of the war are also a threat for the European model of the social market economy as well as for the freedom and rights of EU citizens and other inhabitants. The EESC encourages preserving and valuing the Schengen area as it is currently constituted, to guarantee not only the free movement of human beings, but also the functioning of the Single Market.
The EESC underlines that the shortcomings of the Directive relate to its actual transposition and implementation by the Member States, in particular the considerable variability in sanctions, which in most cases means they do not do much to dissuade employers from hiring illegally staying third‑country nationals. The EESC calls on Member States to step up their efforts to implement the Directive and to work actively with the Commission to ensure it is effective. As regards sanctions, the EESC fully supports the Commission's commitments and recommendations to the Member States and puts forward many additional recommendations on how to make the sanctions effective.
The EESC welcomes the renewed EU action plan and the comprehensive approach it proposes. It considers it essential to combat migrant smuggling by means of a "whole-of-route" approach, including by improving judicial and police cooperation and cooperation and dialogue with neighbouring countries in the fight against smuggling networks. Safeguarding external borders is a priority for the European Union, but these must always be protected with respect for human rights and the inviolability of public international law. The EESC points out that protecting people and providing medical care and solidarity aid should not be criminalised and treated in the same way as smuggling networks.
This opinion will focus on three of the nine instruments contained in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum released by the European Commission in November 2020. The opinion deals with: i) the new screening regulation; ii) the amended proposal revising the asylum procedures regulation; iii) the amended proposal for a recast Eurodac regulation.
The EESC stresses that ensuring balance in dealing with asylum applications should not have to be the responsibility of individual Member States alone, but should be managed by the EU as a whole. It recognises the importance of the proposals having the legal status of a regulation – as opposed to a Directive. The EESC is pleased that the regulations invoke the principles of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, but this burden is not sufficiently balanced. Solidarity needs to be binding, in the form of mandatory relocations.
In this opinion, the EESC stresses that the EU needs to strike the right balance between effective and realistic migration management that is humane and sustainable, while ensuring security and control of its external borders. It must send a clear message that migration can be better managed collectively. It notes that the proposals accompanying the PMA are important but insufficient for the development of the common European framework for migration management, which would be both effective and in line with the EU's values and objectives.