Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 220

Posts Tagged ‘asylum’

Migration and asylum: member states to collect more statistical data

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 maggio 2020

EU member states will have to collect more data about immigration, residence permits, illegal entry and returns, under new rules already agreed by MEPs and the Council.With 65 votes to 2, the Civil Liberties Committee backed on Monday the new Regulation on Community statistics on migration and international protection, whose aim is to ensure the availability of reliable, relevant and timely statistics in that field.The Regulation covers the collection of statistics on administrative and judicial procedures in EU countries relating to immigration, granting of residence permits, citizenship, asylum and other forms of international protection, illegal entry and stay, and returns.Under the new rules, member states will have to increase the frequency of the data they provide to Eurostat and disaggregate them by age and sex, by citizenship of the persons concerned and by unaccompanied minors.In the case of residence permits, they will have to clarify whether they are first-time permits, the grounds on which they are issued and length of validity. Concerning returns, collected data must reflect the type of return and the assistance received, as well as the country of destination.Some of the new data collections will start immediately, while others will be first tested in pilot studies. Eurostat will coordinate the pilot projects, with member states participating on a voluntary basis, to assess their feasibility, quality and comparability, and the costs and burdens involved.In the presentation of his draft recommendation to the Civil Liberties Committee, Jan-Christoph Oetjen (Renew, DE), who led the Parliament’s negotiating team in the interinstitutional talks, considered the changes will be a significant improvement “towards more evidence-based policy making in the migration and asylum field”.

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Asylum and Migration Pact: MEPs push for legal and safe avenues

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 4 maggio 2020

In a letter to Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner Ylva Johansson sent by Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee, on behalf of the committee, MEPs call for a balanced approach covering all pillars of the EU policy on asylum and migration, also addressing safe and legal migration.They insist that the Common European Asylum System needs to be complemented by a European Union Resettlement Framework and humanitarian corridors, but stress that safe and legal migration is much broader. Providing legal and safe routes for labour-related migration is key to reducing irregular migration as well as the risks undertaken by persons trying to reach Europe, MEPs underline.Offering third-country nationals wishing to work in the European Union a lawful path to do so could complement partnerships with third countries already in place and help fill gaps in the labour market, whilst ensuring third-country nationals who are filling these gaps are treated equally and not exploited, the letter notes.MEPs complain that, despite legal migration being one of the priorities of the European Agenda for Migration announced in 2015, the only legislative proposal in this field in the last legislature was a revision of the Blue Card Directive, a proposal that has been blocked by the Council since the end of 2017.The Civil Liberties Committee is currently working on an own-initiative report on New Avenues for Legal Labour Migration and hopes that the European Commission is equally ambitious. Among the options on the table, MEPs point to developing sectoral labour migration, but also long-term residence, intra-EU mobility or family reunification rights. “We are looking forward to seeing the Commission move the European framework for legal migration forward”, including by initiating legislative proposals, they say.MEPs are convinced that all member states could profit from a more harmonised approach to labour migration at European level. In their view, the European Union could contribute to improving third-country nationals’ access to the European labour market, addressing skills demands, making member states more attractive to third-country workers, and improving working conditions and integration of third-country nationals. They stress that the hosting communities would benefit from this on several levels.

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Greek-Turkish border: MEPs reject Turkey’s pressure, demand common asylum rules

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 13 marzo 2020

The EU must help Greece manage its border with Turkey, while ensuring the right to asylum for those who need it, several MEPs said on Tuesday.In a debate with Commissioner Johansson and the Croatian Presidency of the Council, a majority of speakers criticised Turkish President Erdoğan for using people’s suffering for political purposes. Many also underlined that the 2015 refugee crisis should not be repeated and insisted that the EU needs to update its common rules on asylum.Some political group leaders called for a revision of the deal with Turkey, which was hammered out in 2016 to stem the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers in exchange for EU financial aid. Others showed deep concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation both at the border with Turkey and on the Greek islands, where thousands of asylum-seekers, many of them unaccompanied minors, are stranded.
The need to respect the Geneva Convention and offer protection to refugees, the allegations about police violence against people attempting to cross the border and the risk that jihadists could be entering EU territory were also raised during the discussion.

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Migration and asylum: EU funds to promote integration and protect borders

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 21 febbraio 2019

MEPs backed on Tuesday increasing the EU budget for migration and asylum policies and to reinforce borders.The Civil Liberties Committee endorsed the renewed Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the 2021-2027 budget of which will increase up to €9.2 billion (€10.41 billion in current prices, 51% more than in the previous financial framework). It also backed the creation of a new Integrated Border Management Fund (IBMF) and agreed to allocate €7.1 billion (€8 billion in current prices) to it.The AMIF should contribute to strengthen the common asylum policy, develop legal migration, in line with the member states’ economic and social needs, contribute to countering irregular migration and ensure effective, safe and dignified return, readmission and reintegration in non-EU countries.But it should also ensure “solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility between the member states, in particular towards those most affected by migration challenges, including through practical cooperation”, MEPs state.MEPs also want to make sure that funds can be allocated to local and regional authorities, and to international and non‑governmental organisations, working in the field of asylum and migration.
IBMF will provide funding to build and enhance member states’ capacities in border management and visa policy. The funding dedicated to member states (60 % of the total envelope) will reflect their needs and take into account additional pressures. Furthermore, a new EU thematic facility (40% of the total envelope) will ensure flexibility to channel emergency funding to member states and EU-level projects when urgent action is needed.
MEPs also added safeguards to ensure that actions and measures funded through the Instrument comply with the EU’s fundamental rights obligations, in particular with the principles of non-discrimination and non-refoulement. (COMP 3) Both funds will operate in full synergy. They will also work closely with the reinforced Internal Security Fund (ISF) focusing on tackling terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime.
The draft proposal on the renewed AMIF passed with 40 votes to 7 and 6 abstentions. The new IBMF was backed by 41 MEPs, 9 voted against and 2 abstained. The full House will have to confirm its position in the first March plenary, ahead of the negotiations with the Council of the EU.

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EU funds for migration, asylum and integration policies

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 26 maggio 2018

This study provides an overview, analysis and evaluation of how EU funds for migration, asylum and integration policies have been used. Using publicly available information, insights from interviews with various stakeholders and a survey of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the authors evaluate the allocation, implementation and oversight of EU funds.
The European Union significantly increased its funding for migration, asylum and integration policies in the wake of the increased inflow of asylum seekers in 2015. This study provides an overview, an analysis and an evaluation of the use of these funds, based on publicly available information, insights from interviews with various stakeholders and a survey of non-governmental organisations.The paper also offers recommendations on how to improve the use of funds and allocation keys to Member States. The authors argue for an increase in funding in support of member states as well as for EU agencies such as Frontex and EASO and for a more strategic coordination of various migration related initiatives.

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Asylum reform: EU leaders must not drag their feet on new Dublin rules

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 15 dicembre 2017

councilCouncil progress on the revamp of the Dublin system to ensure a fair and responsible EU asylum system should not be further postponed, says Parliament’s lead MEP Cecilia Wikström. Ahead of the European Council, she also warns that Parliament will not sign off on any reform that does not change the situation on the ground.Parliament’s lead MEP on the Dublin reform, Cecilia Wikstrom (ALDE, SE) said: “President Tusk’s recent meddling in the legislative process on the Dublin regulation is clearly unhelpful and deeply damaging to the legislative process, as well as to the inter-institutional relations between the European Parliament and EU governments in the Council.
– His comments, that he would propose a way forward on the Dublin reforms if European leaders cannot agree on a position by June 2018, are arrogant and disrespectful to the European Commission, which has already put forward a proposal on Dublin reforms, as well as to the European Parliament, which has recently adopted a mandate for negotiations by a large majority.
– It is understandable that member states would want to try and find a consensus on such an important issue, but it is equally clear from the last 18 months of fruitless debate in the European Council that such a unanimous position will never be possible to reach, since a small number of member states are determined to obstruct any form of constructive reforms of the Dublin regulation.
– European leaders need to stop meddling in and blocking the legislative process on the Dublin regulation. They need to give a clear mandate to Justice and Home Affairs ministers to proceed with the legislative work as required under the treaty, in order to find a position with a broad majority that can then be negotiated with the European Parliament as co-legislator. Dragging out talks in the European Council on the Dublin regulation until June 2018 leaves almost no time for negotiations between the co-legislators before the next European Parliament elections.
– The European Parliament will only sign off on reforms of the Dublin regulation that change the situation on the ground and allow us to take back control over the failed asylum system. We will not repeat the errors of the past and sign off on a watered-down compromise, which is guaranteed to fail again on first contact with reality. Any new Dublin system must include an automatic relocation system, with the full participation of all member states, as well as fostering true solidarity between all member states”, Mrs Wikström ends.

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New Asylum Agency to ensure respect of EU asylum rules and fundamental rights

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 2 luglio 2017

european parliamentThe new EU Asylum Agency will ensure that EU countries respect rules on asylum, following a deal with Council. It will also monitor respect of fundamental rights.The informal, preliminary agreement reached on Wednesday covers all the main elements of the legislation, but inter-institutional talks will continue under the Estonian Presidency to finalise the text.The proposal to strengthen the current EU Asylum Support Office (EASO), turning it into a new EU Agency for Asylum equipped with the means and resources to assist Member States in crisis situations and to monitor compliance with EU legislation, is linked to the wider review of the Common European Asylum System currently under way.
MEPs ensured that the Agency will be in charge of regularly assessing all aspects of the common asylum policy, such as reception conditions, respect for procedural safeguards, the right to legal aid and access to interpretation, and whether financial and human resources are sufficient or not. It will also carry out “ad-hoc” monitoring checks when the situation in a specific country raises concerns.A new “asylum intervention pool”, formed by 500 national experts, will be set up and at the immediate disposal of the Agency. They will be deployed in cases where the asylum and reception systems of an EU country are under “disproportionate pressure”.
The Agency will also have a Fundamental Rights Officer, in charge of managing the newly-created complaint mechanism and monitoring and ensuring respect for fundamental rights in all the Agency’s activities.The Executive Director will be able to suspend or terminate the deployment of asylum support teams if a host Member State is found to be in serious breach of fundamental rights.Péter Niedermüller (S&D, HU), Parliament’s rapporteur for the proposal, said: “Our aim was to turn EASO into a fully-fledged Union Agency working with the Member States, but independent from them. The Agency will act as a watchdog of CEAS, an essential element for the EP. Increasing the Agency’s operational and technical capacities to make it more responsive to the current challenges, and ensuring respect for fundamental rights was also crucial”.

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Asylum: MEPs demand urgent reform of the Dublin system and effective relocation of migrants

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 24 aprile 2017

dublinThe current Dublin Regulation, which determines the member state responsible of dealing with each asylum claim, needs an urgent reform, according to MEPs of the Civil Liberties Committee in mission in Italy. MEPs also insisted that other EU countries must host some of the asylum-seekers now in Italy and Greece, as agreed in 2015.On Friday, at the end of a four days visit, Barbara Kudrycka (EPP, PL) and Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), heads of the delegation, said: “We came here to observe and listen to the way Italy manages the high number of arrivals of migrants and refugees at its sea borders. Italy is currently one of the biggest entry points of Europe, therefore the current migration situation is a European, not just an Italian issue. Observations and findings of the delegation are very relevant to the current work of the European Parliament for revising EU asylum legislation, in particular the Dublin Regulation.The delegation is impressed and pays tribute to the efforts of the Italian authorities, population, and all stakeholders, specifically in Sicily, to ensure that the fundamental rights of all migrants and refugees are respected and best processing practices, including for registering arriving migrants and ensuring the protection of external borders, are observed by all stakeholders. The delegation could also observe good cooperation between Italian authorities, NGOs, and EU agencies, and noted the valuable support of EASO, Frontex and Europol.The efforts made by Italy and the extraordinary example of the Sicilian people are not just commendable to Italy but they also safeguard the values of the EU as a whole. The efforts to save lives at sea through search and rescue while fighting against smuggling and trafficking of human beings are tremendous. This is all the more important given the increasing instability and worrying situation in neighbouring countries, notably Libya.The new legislation on unaccompanied minors, although it still needs to be put to the test of reality, seems to be a step in the right direction. It is very much needed, given the arrivals of ever-higher figures of minors of ever-lower age among which increasing numbers of trafficking victims.But of course there are still issues to be addressed:
– We realised that many authorities, including local authorities but also the judiciary, are facing important limitations as far as financial and human resources are concerned, recognising that Italy shoulders a greater relative burden in dealing with the migration situation.
– Visiting Italy gave us yet more evidence that the current Dublin regulation does not work, and given the current pitfalls there seems to be an urgent need for reform.
– Relocation of asylum seekers to other Member States needs to be implemented as agreed, to demonstrate solidarity in practice.
– The need for large scale search and rescue operations demonstrates that Europe must create safe and lawful routes for migration. Resettlement in particular needs to be reinforced.
What Italy is dealing with should be wake-up call to Europe for a more collective response and fairer sharing of responsibility.”

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Migration and asylum: Civil Liberties MEPs to visit Italy

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 19 aprile 2017

siciliaA Civil Liberties Committee delegation will travel to Rome and Sicily, from 18 to 21 April, to look into Italian authorities’ management of migrants and asylum seekers. MEPs will inter alia visit the reception centre Castelnuovo di Porto, the harbour in Augusta (landing site for a vast number of migrants in Italy) as well as the refugee “hotspot” in Pozzallo. The main purpose of the visit is to deepen the members’ understanding of the functioning of the “hotspots” and the interplay between EU and national actors in different aspects of dealing with the large numbers of arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants in Europe. MEPs will meet with different institutions and stakeholders, as well as conduct on-site visits, with the aim to gain better insight in the situation on the ground. Other topics for discussion with local representatives are to include further search and rescue operations, disembarkation procedures and relocation.Heads of the delegation: Barbara Kudrycka (EPP, PL) and Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES).
Members: Branislav Škripek (ECR, SK), Jaromír Štetina (EPP, CZ), Miltiadis Kyrkos (S&D, EL) Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP, SV), Morten Helveg Petersen (ALDE, DK), Alessandra Mussolini (EPP, IT), Cécile Kashetu Kyenge (S&D, IT) and Salvatore Domenico Pogliese (EPP, IT).

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Reform of the EU asylum rules – creating a new Dublin system that works

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 7 marzo 2017

european-parliamentOn Thursday, 9 March 2017, Parliament’s lead MEP on the reform of the Dublin system, Swedish liberal Cecilia Wikström, will present her draft report to the Civil Liberties Committee.The draft report is a first response to the Commission’s proposal, presented in May 2016, for reform of the Dublin regulation. This regulation, which determines which member state is responsible for processing an asylum application, constitutes the cornerstone of the EU asylum system, which is currently undergoing a major revamp.
In the report, Ms Wikström proposes ways to remedy the weaknesses of the current EU asylum rules, which became obvious in 2015 when more than one million people fled war, conflicts and persecution and applied for international protection in the EU, resulting in the near-total collapse of the system. To ensure that the new asylum system will work in practice, the rapporteur sets out three key priorities:
· all member states must share responsibility for asylum seekers,
· accelerating procedures: people needing international protection should get it much faster while those who do not have the right to asylum should be returned to their home countries in a swift and dignified manner, and
· all asylum seekers should be registered upon arrival in the EU and member states with EU external borders must protect and maintain them.
The aim is to ensure that member states on the southern borders are no longer left to shoulder a disproportionate share of the EU’s obligations to applicants for international protection. The system should not encourage member states to turn a blind eye or apply “wave-through” policies, and asylum seekers should be certain that their applications will be treated swiftly and fairly in all countries.

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New Asylum Agency must ensure EU countries respect common asylum rules, say MEPs

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 10 dicembre 2016

european parliamentThe EU Agency for Asylum must coordinate information exchange among member states and ensure they protect fundamental rights, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs on Thursday. The committee backed a proposal to strengthen the current European Asylum Support Office (EASO), which will become the EU Agency for Asylum, and provide it with the means to assist member states in crisis situations, but also to monitor how national authorities apply EU legislation. The new Agency will assess all aspects of the common asylum policy, such as reception conditions, respect for procedural safeguards, the right to legal aid and access to interpretation, and adequacy of financial and human resources. To do so, it will be entitled to make unannounced on-site visits to EU countries.
It would rely on an “asylum intervention pool”, formed by no less than 500 experts contributed by member states, who could be deployed in cases where the asylum and reception systems of an EU country are subject to “disproportionate pressure”.
Fundamental Rights Officer. The Agency will also have a Fundamental Rights Officer, in charge of managing the newly-created complaint mechanism and monitoring and ensuring respect for fundamental rights in all the Agency’s activities.
The resolution, prepared by Peter Niedermüller (EPP, HU) was passed by 36 votes to nine, with six abstentions.
Next steps The committee also approved a negotiating mandate and team, by 46 votes to four, with a view to reaching a first-reading deal with the Council on the legislation.

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MEPs urge EU countries to take more asylum-seekers from Italy, Greece and Turkey

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 17 settembre 2016

mediterraneoEU countries must honour their pledges to accept refugees relocated from Greece and Italy, to relieve migratory pressure on these two “frontline” countries, and at the same time discourage irregular entries by opening up legal and safe routes to the EU, MEPs said on Thursday.In a non-binding resolution approved by 470 votes to 131, with 50 abstentions, Parliament rejected a European Commission proposal to take 54,000 places from a scheme for relocating asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU member states, and use them to resettle Syrian refugees from Turkey in the EU instead, as part of the migration deal agreed between Turkey and EU leaders last March. Under the Commission proposal, EU countries could deduct Syrian refugees needing international protection who they take in from Turkey from the numbers of asylum-seekers whom they have pledged to relocate from Greece and Italy.The deal between Turkey and EU leaders requires the EU to take in one Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian returned from the Greek islands to Turkey. Parliament objects that the intra-EU relocation scheme should not be mixed up with the resettlement one, which involves a non-EU country. “Resettlement should not take place at the expense of relocation”, says the text prepared by Ska Keller (Greens, DE). MEPs note that the need for emergency relocation from Greece and Italy to other EU member states is expected to remain high, pointing to the urgent humanitarian situation in Greece and the risk of deterioration in Italy. During the debate in plenary, Keller underlined that the relocation scheme is a true solidarity instrument that “needs to be strengthened, not watered down”. The problem, she added, is that member states are “simply not doing enough” and complained that some countries have not even taken a single refugee.In the resolution, MEPs stress that even though EU countries have agreed to relocate a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers within two years (two separate decisions were taken in 2015, for 40,000 and 120,000 places, respectively), only a small percentage of people have so far been relocated (see updated figures). They therefore urge EU countries to make available at least one-third of their promised relocation places by 31 December 2016.
The text also asks that Afghan, Iraqi and Eritrean refugees be made eligible for relocation within the EU. It notes that in 2015, Afghans were the second largest group of asylum-seekers in the EU, with an unprecedented number of around 180,000, many of whom were unaccompanied minors with special protection needs.

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Civil Liberties MEPs visit migrant and refugee camps around Calais on Wednesday

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 13 luglio 2016

calais campA 9-strong MEP delegation from the Civil Liberties Committee will be in Calais on Wednesday 13 July to visit facilities for migrants and refugees, in the vicinity, which for years has been a gathering spot for people trying to cross from France to the UK. MEPs will meet with local authorities, NGOs, the French-British border authorities and the refugees and migrants themselves in order to assess the situation on the ground.The delegation, led by MEP Ana Gomes (S&D, PT), will visit the refugee camp called La Linière and the Jules Ferry day centre as well as reception facilities.A major overhaul of the EU asylum system is currently under way, including a revamp of the Dublin rules determining which EU country is responsible for processing an asylum application, as well as revisions of the EU rules on the redistribution of asylum seekers, stepping up controls at EU external borders and the possibilities of returning migrants who do not meet the criteria for international protection. The delegation’s findings will feed into the committee’s legislative work on these issues.

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Asylum: EU list of safe countries of origin to replace national lists in 3 years

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 9 luglio 2016

Commissione-europeaThe future EU common list of safe countries of origin, which should help member states to process certain asylum applications faster and more consistently, should replace today’s national lists after a three-year transition period, Civil Liberties Committee MEPs agreed on Thursday. The EU Commission will assess which countries should be included, removed or temporarily suspended from the list.
“We met the challenge of delivering a text that is both pragmatic and ambitious”, said Parliament´s rapporteur, Sylvie Guillaume (S&D, FR) after the vote. “We have thus ensured optimal harmonisation by eliminating national lists within three years in a smooth and organised manner. In the event of a sudden deterioration of the situation in a country designated as a safe country of origin, we have also provided for a process that is as responsive and flexible as possible”, she added.Ms Guillaume made it clear that “applying the concept of a safe country of origin in no way dispenses with the duty to carry out an appropriate individual examination of the relevant asylum applications”, including offering applicants a personal interview and, following Parliament´s amendments, an automatic suspensive effect of appeals.“The methodology for designating or reviewing a country as safe country of origin has also been greatly improved. A consultation process is now included to enable third parties, such as EASO, UNHCR or NGOs to take part in the Commission’s task of monitoring the EU common list”, Ms Guillaume added.
Decisions to add or remove countries will be taken using the ordinary legislative procedure, following a proposal by the EU Commission. To assess the situation in third countries and the possibility of adding them to the EU common list, the Commission will rely on the information received from member states, EEAS, EASO, UNHCR, the Council of Europe and other relevant organizations and, following amendments by MEPs, also international and national NGOs.The Commission will also be responsible for regularly reviewing the situation in the listed and suspended countries and will also decide, under Parliament’s scrutiny, on the temporary suspension of a country in the event of a sudden deterioration of the situation there.
During the three years before national lists disappear, EU countries will be able to suggest to the EU Commission that other third countries be added to the common list, but they will not be allowed to consider “safe country of origin” any country which has been suspended or removed from the European list.
In order to strengthen protection for unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable groups, the safe country of origin concept will not be applied “in the case of applicants belonging to a minority or group of persons that remain at risk in the light of the situation in the country of origin concerned.” Accelerated or border procedures cannot be applied to unaccompanied minors originating from a safe country of origin unless they receive “adequate support”, says the amended text.
The committee also backed the opening of talks with the Council to try to agree on the legislation at the first reading. The negotiating mandate was approved by 43 votes to 6. The discussion will start after the summer recess.

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Safe countries of origin: MEPs request new assessment by EASO before finalising list

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 28 aprile 2016

turchiaAmendments to the EC proposal for an EU Common list of safe countries of origin, which should help speed up the processing of asylum applications, will be debated by Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday from 16:00. Parliament’s rapporteur for the proposal to establish an EU common list of safe countries of origin asked EASO to assess the situation in the Western Balkans and in Turkey before deciding if the seven countries proposed by the Commission should be included in such a list. Sylvie Guillaume (S&D,FR), the lead MEP for this proposal, decided, in agreement with the Council, to request the Asylum office an updated assessment about the situation in the Western Balkans and in Turkey. Parliament has also asked the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to highlight any implications the proposal has for fundamental rights. The debate starts at 16:00, in room Joszef Antall (JAN) 4Q1 and can be followed live on EP LiveWhile waiting for the experts´ evaluation, Ms Guillaume will try to reach a partial agreement on the content of the Regulation, excluding the list and all related recitals. The aim of the legislation is to establish a common list of countries considered safe for their own nationals regarding asylum requests in the EU, in order to increase the efficiency of asylum systems, discourage abuse attempts and increase convergence in the application of asylum procedures among the member states. In her draft report, Parliament’s rapporteur made several amendments to the Commission´s text, besides temporarily disregarding the list in the annex. Among other changes, Ms Guillaume proposes the creation of an Advisory Body on Safe Country of Origin Information, formed by representatives of EASO and UNHCR, as well as other independent and reliable third parties, which would assist during the designation and list review process. She also suggests abolishing the national lists at the latest three years after the entry into force of the EU common list, as a means to reach real harmonisation within the EU.

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Attacks against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are unacceptable, say heads of European human rights institutions

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 22 marzo 2016

african_migrants.jpg.crop_displayOn the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the heads of Europe’s main intergovernmental human rights institutions call for a strong response to xenophobic attacks against migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, and call on governments and state authorities to uphold their international obligations in this regard.With the drownings in the Mediterranean persisting as refugees, asylum seekers and migrants continue to risk their lives to reach safety, this is the time to strengthen our commitment to the right to life and to dignity, said Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Michael Georg Link, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and Christian Ahlund, Chair of the Council of Europe’s European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI).“As Europe confronts the greatest migrant crisis since the Second World War, the elimination of racial discrimination is a priority like never before,” said FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “Our continent needs to eradicate every vestige of exclusion and marginalisation of the outsider if it is to rise to the challenge. The international treaties to combat racism provide the necessary roadmap.”In a number of countries, there has been a marked increase in attacks on refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, some of which have been fatal. Hate speech rooted in hostility to ethnic, religious and cultural diversity is being expressed ever more openly, not only by extremist groups but also by politicians from across the political spectrum and on social media. Such rhetoric fuels intolerance towards ethnic and religious minorities, making immediate and resolute action by governments and state authorities all the more urgent.“Past experience has shown that democracy can be undermined and swept aside where calls to deny the right to equality and dignity of the most vulnerable are listened to and acted upon,” said ECRI’s Chair, Christian Ahlund. “Therefore, discouraging and preventing hate speech through demonstrating the danger that it poses and through counter-speech is of the utmost importance.In order to combat the further spread of prejudice, human rights education and training that reaches out to all age groups and professions is vital.”In the current situation, reaffirming our commitment to the values and principles of tolerance, equality and non-discrimination is crucial,” said Michael Link, director of the OSCE/ODIHR. “We have a duty to condemn hate crimes and all other manifestations of racism and xenophobia, respond swiftly and effectively to intolerant behaviour, and to counter hate speech in the messages we deliver. This has to be accompanied by a particular emphasis on awareness-raising and other educational initiatives aimed at countering racist messages and promoting mutual understanding.”The heads of all three organisations call for greater efforts at the international, national and local levels to combat racism and discrimination, and pledge to continue their cooperation to maximise endeavours in this regard.

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MEPs want EU embassies and consulates to grant asylum seekers humanitarian visas

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 17 marzo 2016

To dissuade refugees from putting their lives at risk by entrusting them to people smugglers, EU consulates and embassies should be allowed to issue humanitarian visas to persons seeking international protection, said Civil Liberties Committee MEPs voting on an update of the EU Visa Code on Wednesday. These visas would enable holders to enter the country issuing the visa in order to apply for asylum.
The call to issue humanitarian visas, backed by 46 votes to 4, with 7 abstentions, was part of a legal update to the EU Visa Code, designed to make visa grant procedures less cumbersome, so as to facilitate legitimate travel to the EU.“Given the human drama that we are facing in Europe, we as politicians need to deliver. And that is precisely what we have done here. We shall stand firm together when it comes to negotiating the question of humanitarian visas with the Council. As legislators, we should be proud to use every instrument at our disposal to improve people’s lives”, said rapporteur on the proposed update Juan Fernando López Aguilar, (S&D, ES).MEPs underline that issuing humanitarian visas to persons seeking protection would enable them to travel to the EU “in a safe manner”. To that end, they propose that EU member states be empowered to accept visa applications, in the country where the applicant is, on humanitarian grounds, for reasons of national interest or to meet international obligations. Humanitarian visas would have limited territorial validity, since the sole purpose of the journey would be to lodge an application for international protection.
The proposed update simplifies and modernises visa application procedures, without modifying the criteria against which applications are assessed. Among other changes, some applicants may not need to present their applications in person, processing periods are reduced and interviews may be conducted remotely.MEPs inserted amendments to allow applications to be lodged nine months before the intended journey, instead of six as proposed by the Commission, and to extend the range of potential beneficiaries of multiple-entry visas. They also inserted a provision allowing visa applications to be presented in the consulate of another EU country if the competent one is more than 500 km away from the applicant’s place of residence.The committee agreed to start talks with the Council of Ministers with a view to reaching an agreement on the legislation at the first reading. The negotiating mandate was approved by 53 votes to 3, with 1 abstention.

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The EU should avoid trapping asylum-seekers in Greece, says Civil Liberties Chair

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 3 marzo 2016

European UnionThe new humanitarian assistance tool to help refugees stranded in Greece will provide much needed help to alleviate pressure faced by the country as a result of increasing arrivals, said Civil Liberties Committee Chair Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), underlining that “trapping asylum-seekers in Greece is not a policy that member states should be pursuing in 2016”.Mr Moraes welcomed this sign of solidarity intended to help Greece tackle with the raising migration and refugees influx and warned that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding as a result of the failure of member states to show solidarity and effectively implement the necessary EU measures.Speaking after the Commission´s announcement, Mr Moraes said:“I welcome the Commission’s announcement to create a new humanitarian assistance tool to help refugees in Europe. This is a welcoming sign of solidarity with member states on the periphery that have experienced significant pressures as a result of increasing arrivals; so far this year, over 100,000 migrants have arrived to Europe by sea. The new funds for humanitarian assistance will provide much needed help to alleviate pressure faced by Greece in response to the increasing amount of asylum-seekers trapped in the country. A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the EU as a result of the failure of Member States to show solidarity and implement the necessary EU measures to address the refugee crisis. Relocation figures still remain in the hundreds and the recent plans to seal the border between Macedonia and Greece and along the ‘Balkan route’ draw attention to the failure of member states to show solidarity in response to the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the second world war.Trapping asylum-seekers in Greece is not a policy that member states should be pursuing in 2016, this is a European crisis that requires European solutions. The European Parliament will continue to call on member states to respond in an organised and compassionate way with full respect of human dignity”.

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Crossmatch L Scan Livescan to Register Asylum Seekers in Greece

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 1 marzo 2016

Palm Beach GardensPalm Beach Gardens, Fla. Crossmatch®, a leading provider of identity management enrollment and authentication solutions, today announced that the European Commission, through the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), has awarded Greece funds to purchase Crossmatch L Scan® palm scanners. The devices will be used at Greek border crossings and established hotspots on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Leros, Kos and Samos to ensure proper identification and registration of migrants.The Federal Police in Greece are using biometrics to enroll and ensure proper identification as refugees cross their borders. Images from the Crossmatch scanners are used to create submissions to the EURODAC database. EURODAC is the European database for identifying and registering asylum seekers and irregular border crossers. It ensures the sharing of information among EU member countries and determines if asylum seekers have already applied elsewhere.
“With global migration at an all-time high, government border security and relief agencies face new challenges as they work to balance the need to quickly process, protect and place huge numbers of refugees while still maintaining a secure border “,” said Eduardo Parodi, vice president of government sales at Crossmatch. “The use of proven and reliable biometric capture technology, such as the L Scan and Guardian scanners, support this requirement – enhancing safety and security for all.” The EASO award follows the announcement in December that the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF), the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, has deployed Crossmatch Guardian fingerprint scanners to biometrically enroll thousands of refugees and migrants entering Germany. To date, BAMF has purchased over one thousand Guardian devices that are deployed at more than three dozen field offices where refugees are fingerprinted and asylum applications are processed.
Crossmatch helps organizations solve their identity management challenges through biometrics. Our enrollment and authentication solutions are trusted to create, validate and manage identities for a wide range of government, law enforcement, financial institution, retail and commercial applications. Our solutions are designed using proven biometric technologies, flexible enrollment and strong multi-factor authentication software, and deep industry expertise. We offer an experienced professional services capability to assess, design, implement and optimize our identity management solutions for a customer’s individual challenges. Our products and solutions are utilized by over 200 million people in more than 80 countries. Learn more at

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The refugee crisis: biologists warn of the problems of determining age from biological indicators in children

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 8 febbraio 2016

oxford universityOXFORD, UK. The thousands of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) entering Europe to seek escape from war and poverty are in the headlines as the British Government considers the acceptance of 3000 refugee children to the UK. In addition to the loss of their families, many of these children will also have no documentary proof of their identity or age and no-one to support their status as “children” and thus their claim of asylum. In those cases in which the child appears to be mature, scientific evidence is required by the government to support an age of less than 18 years. In these cases an assessment of the biological maturity of the child is made on the assumption of the close relationship between maturity and age. In 2015 these assessments were carried out in 488 of the 2168 applications by UASC; over 20% of all applications.The lack of precision in determining age from estimates of maturity is highlighted by Noël Cameron, Professor of Human Biology at Loughborough University, in a commentary article in the Annals of Human Biology. Professor Cameron draws attention to the “imperfect association” between maturity and age. He writes that, “The standard method of maturity estimation involves assessing skeletal maturity from the bones of the hand and wrist. However skeletal maturity or “skeletal age” as it is commonly known, has a standard deviation of approximately one year about any specific chronological age meaning that a child’s chronological age could be within ±2 years of any skeletal age.” If an average skeletal age of 18 “years” is assumed to have been reached by boys at a chronological age of 18 years, then whilst 50% of young men will exhibit full skeletal maturity at 18 years, 50% will not exhibit full maturity. Thus a decision based on adulthood being defined as the attainment of full skeletal maturity condemns those skeletally advanced 17 year olds to laws governing adults and those skeletally delayed 18 year olds to laws governing children.Cameron maintains that figures similar to these “can be found in most countries of the European Union who have been the target for asylum seeking refuges in the last few years. Almost all use skeletal maturity as the primary method to determine chronological age.” In his opinion it is indefensible to ignore the known imperfect association between maturity and age in order to decide who will, or will not, be granted the opportunities afforded by asylum in the UK.
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