Reform of EU Asylum system: Wikström proposes permanent relocation system based on fairness and solidarity

ALDE MEP Cecilia Wikström today presented, at the civil liberties committee of the European Parliament, her report on the reform of the EU asylum rules. Wikström has modified the Commission’s proposal to reform the Dublin regulation that, according to the leading Swedish liberal MEP, is no longer fit for purpose. Wikström’s proposal is based on the following key principles:

•    Automatic registration of all arrivals by Member States with external borders to speed up process and break the incentives for secondary movements
•    A compulsory and permanent relocation system so all Member States are legally obliged to accept asylum seekers and contribute to relieve pressure on frontline countries
•    Removal of pre-Dublin admissibility procedures, so the responsibility for conducting admissibility procedures is shared amongst member states
•    Light family procedure to allow family reunification after assessment of the application
•    Allocation of groups of up to 30 applicants at a time
•    Introduction of an emergency break in the automatic corrective allocation system, which will be suspended if the member state does not protect and manage its external border
•    No opt-out from the corrective allocation system: paying EUR 250.000 per applicant to avoid the accommodation of refugees, as proposed by the Commission, must not be possible
•    Five year transitional period to determine the quotas for each member state based on factors such as GDP and population
•    Faster appointment of guardians for unaccompanied minors read more…

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

On 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.

read more…

Address in Strasbourg: Debate with the commissionary for migration

Address in the plenary session by Cecilia Wikström, Strasbourg 1 february 2017:

Speech 1 february strasbourg

– Mr President, I would like to say thank you, Madam Commissioner, for your engagement, your commitment and your good intentions. It goes without saying that the European Union should always contribute to stability, growth and the protection of human rights and democracy in our neighbouring countries, but we must never, ever, outsource our own responsibilities and obligations in respect of migration policies and people in need, or externalise our borders.

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Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE) re-elected Chair of the Petitions Committee

LIBE committee meeting. Exchange of views with Bernard CAZENEUVE, French Minister of the Interior

LIBE committee meeting. Exchange of views with Bernard CAZENEUVE, French Minister of the Interior

Cecilia Wikström will continue as Chair of Parliament’s Petitions Committee for the coming two and a half years. She was re-elected in the first round by Committee members on Monday.

“I am honoured by the trust shown in me by the Petitions Committee. As its Chair, I will now continue our work to make sure that the EU does better at addressing the needs and experiences of European citizens through our legislative work”, Ms Wikström said after the vote.

MEPs also elected, by acclamation, the four Vice-Chairs that will form, together with Cecilia Wikström, the Committee’s bureau:

Ms Rosa Estaràs Ferragut (EPP, ES) will be first Vice-Chair,

Ms Roberta Metsola (EPP, MT) will be second Vice-Chair,

Ms Marlene Mizzi (S&D, MT) will be third Vice-Chair and

Mr Pál Csáky (EPP, SK) will be fourth Vice-Chair.

According to the Rules of the Procedure of the European Parliament (Rule 204), the composition of the bureau of each committee must reflect the diversity of Parliament. It is not possible, for example, to have an all male or all female bureau, or for all of the Vice-Chairs to come from the same Member State.

Address in Strasbourg: Unacceptable situation for refugees in southern Europe

Address in the plenary by Cecilia Wikström, Strasbourg 18 january 2017:

Speech 18 january strasbourg

– Mr President, the snow is falling and the temperature is falling. The harsh winter weather has now arrived, even in the southernmost part of the EU – in the southern Member States – and more refugees are faced with unacceptable living conditions. Thankfully, at the moment, NGOs and international organisations have been providing emergency relief. I would like to reach out to give recognition and wholeheartedly felt thanks to them at this time.

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Speech, General Assembly in Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants

img_488019 September 2016, New York – Address by Mrs Cecilia Wikström, Member of the European Parliament, at the High-Level meeting of the General Assembly in Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants Round Table 2: Addressing drivers of migration, particularly large movements and highlighting the positive contributions of migrants. And the video here (2hrs39mins)

Presidents, fellow delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, let me underline that not only is this high-level meeting timely, but it also takes place in New York City, a city which has been built by the will and the energy of migrants coming first from European countries and later from all around the world. We are all migrants in one way or another, the sons and daughters of people who left their homes to seek a better future. New York represents a tangible proof of their achievements: a city that is known all around the world for its dynamism and its energy.

The New York declaration achieves outstanding improvement in the way the international community approaches the issue of international mobility. I would like to pay particular tribute to these achievements: read more…

New rules to attract non-EU students, researchers and interns to the EU

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Harmonised EU entry and residence rules to make it easier and more attractive for people from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were approved by Parliament on Wednesday. The new rules clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs.

The new rules merge two existing directives (one on students and one on researchers) to ensure that:

  • students and researchers may stay at least nine months after finishing their studies or research in order to look for a job or to set up a business, which should also ensure that Europe benefits from their skills,
  • students and researchers may move more easily within the EU during their stay. In future, they will not need to file a new visa application, but only to notify the member state to which they are moving, for example to do a one-semester exchange.
  • Researchers will also be able to move for longer periods than those currently allowed,
  • researchers have the right to bring their family members with them and these family members are entitled to work during their stay in Europe, and students have the right to work at least 15 hours a week.

“I am glad that the EU recognizes the value of attracting highly skilled people to come here and to entice them to stay by creating a harmonized European system applicable in all member states, said lead MEP Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE).

read more…

ALDE Press release “No bazaar politics over visa liberalisation”

21650031055_c1bf535336_zsmallTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has declared that Turkey will renege the EU-Turkey deal if Turkey does not get visa liberalisation this summer. The Liberals and Democrats remind the Commission that all 72 criteria have to be met before it proposes visa liberalisation. ALDE Group leader also reiterates its plea to get our own European House in order so that we are not totally dependent on Erdogan anymore.

The ALDE LIBE coordinator Cecilia Wikström added: “It is sad to see how EU-leaders are trying to outsource our European responsibilities to Turkey, by trying to set up a system which ensures that Europe does not need to receive any refugees, despite our international commitments. Turkey is a country that shoots and pushes back refugees at the Syrian border and it is impossible for the EU to cooperate with a country which does not respect international law. It is a mistake to believe that Turkey can solve our problems. Only a truly European approach, based on solidarity and compassion can do this.” read more…