The European Union is built on values! The core of the project is democracy, rule of law, international solidarity, collaboration and fundamental rights. These are the building blocks of our collaboration. During the spring’s many elections across Europe, we’ve seen how populists have been trying to fragment and divide our union and communities with their hateful rhetoric. That is why it is so important that we Europeans that stand for openness dare to stand up for diversity, equality, and pluralism. That is how we build a strong Europe together! #ValuesFirst
Imagine growing up without a nationality? With the large numbers of refugees in the world, more people than ever find themselves stateless. After our joint committee hearing on the issue last week, I sat down with my colleague Claude Moraes, as well as Chris Nash, Director of the European Network on Statelessness and Melanie Khanna, UNHCR Head of Section for Statelessness, to discuss this important issue.
Statelessness will take centre stage in the European Parliament on Thursday (29 June), with two committees turning their attention to one of Europe’s most hidden and marginalised populations, write MEPs Claude Moraes and Cecilia Wikström.
Claude Moraes is chair of the European Parliament’s Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) and Cecilia Wikström is chair of the Petitions Committee (PETI).
On Thursday, statelessness will take centre stage in the European Parliament’s LIBE and PETI committees, as its members turn their attention to one of Europe’s most hidden and marginalised populations.
The EU and the UK government should negotiate a deal on the situation and rights of citizens as a matter of urgency and before starting the other Brexit talks, MEPs say.
In a joint hearing organised by the committees of Civil Liberties, Employment and Petitions, most MEPs underlined the “moral duty” to end the uncertainty created for both EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals in the EU since the June referendum.
The EU should let go of the principle that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” in negotiations, because a quick solution for citizens’ rights is a matter of priority. “Let´s do this first”, they concurred.
At the request of ALDE First Vice President Sophie In’t Veld MEP, who has set up a Task Force within the European Parliament to fight for the rights of EU citizens in the UK, the European Parliament today held a joint hearing on the rights of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit.
–”Mr President, let me be very clear. The EU should, of course, work closely together with partners in our neighbourhood in order to manage in the best way possible the challenges posed by migration. This can, however, not be an excuse to try to externalise our borders or to refuse to take our fair share of receiving applicants for international protection.
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…
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.
Address in the plenary session by Cecilia Wikström, Strasbourg 1 february 2017:
– 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.
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.