Parliament migration vote is a huge missed opportunity

Proposals aimed at better securing the EU's external borders were dealt a blow last night after MEPs dramatically watered down draft laws put forward by the European Commission.

Following the migration and refugee crisis that exposed clear weaknesses in the EU’s existing mechanisms, the Commission put forward plans to make the European Border and Coast Guard Agency more effective. However, following yesterday’s vote in Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee, the Agency will be burdened with several new conditions for processing applicants and returns that are already covered in other pieces of legislation.

The management of the EU’s external borders is a shared responsibility, and as part of the proposals the Agency is set to gain an additional 10,000 operational staff and a stronger mandate for returning migrants as well as improving cooperation with third countries. Following the vote in Parliament, the additional clauses added to the draft laws would render the Agency’s attempts at returning individuals incredibly burdensome, before any action has even started.

Speaking after the vote, ECR shadow rapporteur for the proposals Anders Vistisen said:

“This vote is a huge missed opportunity. Our whole migration system needs to be more efficient and gain the public’s trust. However the position adopted today does neither.

“Asylum applications need to be processed quicker as does the return of failed applicants. Adding new conditions and fundamental rights clauses, which already exist and are in place elsewhere, don’t actually benefit anyone and will make it impossible for the agency to ever get going and take any action to secure our borders.

“The European Border and Coast Guard Agency is a border security and management agency, not a fundamental rights agency. We shouldn’t be trying to duplicate standards and add additional layers of bureaucracy that don’t actually improve rights. All it does is prevent the agency from carrying out its job to effectively manage the EU’s external border and restore faith in our immigration system.”

The draft laws will now enter institutional negotiations between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

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