ECR Group: We need a strongly reinforced focus on safe borders and returns

The ECR Group in the European Parliament agrees that the focus of the EU migration policy should lie on safe borders and the return of unjustified asylum seekers to their countries of origin.

Speaking on behalf of the Group after today’s Presentation of the Commission’s New Pact for Migration and Asylum by the Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, ECR MEP and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Coordinator Nicola Procaccini said:

“It’s true that each of our Member States faces different and unique challenges, as Vice-President Schinas has pointed out. To find a solution, the interests of the Member States have to be recognised.

“We agree with the Commission that we need a strongly reinforced focus on returns. Only if we are able to turn back those without a valid reason to stay, will our citizens support helping refugees that really have nowhere else to go. We also agree with the need for further reinforcement of controls at the EU’s external borders.

“However, we have serious doubts on the proposed ‘fast track procedure’ for asylum seekers from countries with low recognition rates. We consider a procedure that takes 12 weeks to be too long. We know from experience, that there will be problems on site. The countries of arrival might then still find themselves bearing the brunt of the unjustified asylum seekers and we consider this an issue that has to be resolved in the upcoming negotiations.

“We also would have preferred to see proposals to stop departures immediately. The Commission’s proposals to establish partnerships with third countries and continuing the fight against human smugglers are mid-term policies we will endorse, but we also need to see concrete actions now. The clock is ticking.”

Mr. Procaccini concluded:

“We will study the package in more detail in the coming days and weeks. We are looking forward to working with the Council and the colleagues in the Parliament in order to finally deliver an asylum and migration policy that is fair and protects our citizens.”

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