EU asylum policy should be based on solidarity and integration

Agencies responsible for protecting the EU’s borders need their remit expanded, argues Iliana Iotova.

By Iliana Iotova

21 Nov 2014

The European Union needs a coordinated common policy in the areas of migration and asylum. This area, as well as social, economic and financial issues, is one of the main problems confronting the development of the EU and protection of its citizens.

The financial crisis and conflicts in north Africa, Afghanistan and Ukraine have resulted in the arrival of a large amount of people at the gates of Europe. The increase in radical movements, terrorism and the creation of Isis gives a new perspective to the question of security. The pressure on member states at the borders of the EU cannot be solved by these countries alone.

During the last term, the parliament adopted a legislative package on migration and asylum. The urgency of this issue was noted during the formation of the new commission by creating a new portfolio with Dimitris Avramopoulos as commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship.

The new policy on migration and asylum needs to be intertwined with policies in the social, financial and political spheres. The solving of this issue is a prerequisite for guaranteeing the security of Europe.

"The increase in radical movements, terrorism and the creation of Isis gives a new perspective to the question of security"

If urgent measures for immigration policy applying to all 28 member states are not adopted, the refugee crisis will deepen. Therefore, the European agencies responsible for internal security need to broaden their scope and fields of action.

We now have the new asylum and migration fund at our disposal which can serve as a cornerstone for the implementation of common policies in the member states. The resources will not serve their purpose if they are used in a fragmented way without coordination between the member states, especially those on the southern borders.

Policies in the area of asylum and migration must be based on solidarity and integration. That is why the operational powers of the EU’s external borders agency (Frontex) must be enhanced and joint operational groups for monitoring and protection of the common external borders created. The latter may be of a temporary nature, but currently they are mandatory.

Against this backdrop, we are eagerly anticipating the commission’s concrete proposals for the creation of legal migration channels. This policy is on the agendas of both Juncker and Avramopoulos. The building of walls in some of the member states like Spain, Greece and Bulgaria has been questioned in the past.

However, I believe they serve a purpose, which is not to prevent refugees from entering the EU, but to make them enter legally. This will see a decline in human trafficking and smuggling, which has become a profitable business.

It is obvious that a revision of the Dublin regulation is needed, as it violates the principle of solidarity and puts more pressure on the external borders. There is a sufficient number of instruments, such as Eurosur, SIS and VIS, as well as the work of Europol, the European asylum support office and Frontex.

Therefore, there is no need for new instruments, which risk becoming an additional administrative burden. There is also a need for greater analysis and precision in the implementation of operations such as Mare Nostrum and Triton.

The deepening refugee crisis in Syria, the war on the Turkish-Syrian border and the expected new wave of refugees from Afghanistan, places an urgent need for the creation of a specific task force and actions at EU level for land border protection between Turkey and Greece and Turkey and Bulgaria. This topic needs to regularly feature in specific parliament resolutions as is the case with the situation in the Mediterranean.


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