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…
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.
Turkish 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…
The Council and the EU member states should accelerate the ratification of the Marrakesh treaty to facilitate access to books for blind and visually impaired persons, MEPs urge in a resolution adopted on Wednesday. Marrakesh Treaty, adopted in 2013, aims to enhance cross-border exchange of books in accessible formats such as Braille or large print.
“The lack of commitment from member states to reach a constructive agreement is a clear violation of the right to easily accessible information, enrolled in the UN convention on rights for people with disabilities”, Petitions committee chair Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE) said.
“The European citizens have waited long enough. After four years with lack of understanding for the needs of people with disabilities, it is time to find a political solution in support of the blind and the visually impaired persons’ right to literature,” she added. read more…
The European Parliament today backed by an overwhelming majority the report drafted by ALDE MEP Cecilia Wikström on the trade mark reform package (regulation and directive). The adopted text will modernise EU trade mark registration systems – available in parallel to national registrations – by making them more accessible for both citizens and businesses, lowering the costs, increasing legal certainty and reducing the length of the legal procedure businesses have to face when registering a new mark. The modernisation and reform of the current EU trade mark system will also bring more transparency and facilitate the fight against counterfeit goods.
Cecilia Wikström, ALDE rapporteur, said: “The trade mark system in Europe functions well but is in need of a modernisation. The parliament has consistently kept the users of the system at the forefront of the discussion and we are glad to see a system that will provide a lot of added value for users”. read more…
Updates to make registering trade marks cheaper, quicker and more reliable for firms were approved by the Parliament on Tuesday. These new rules, informally agreed with the Council of Ministers, will also make it possible to impound counterfeit goods in transit through EU territory.
“The trade mark system in Europe functions well but is in need of a modernisation. The parliament has consistently kept the users of the system at the forefront of the discussion and we are glad to see a system that will provide a lot of added value for users,” said rapporteur Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE).
“The reforms that we are now agreeing to will not imply a revolution of the European trade mark system but will bring the legislation in line with the times we are living in. The new rules will allow better protection for rights holders through a strengthening of both the national and European trade mark systems. At the same time we have safeguarded freedom of expression, like parody and artistic freedom and the ensured access to generic medicines for developing countries,” she added.
By not accepting any amendments to the Council’s position in first reading, MEPs adopted the new law. read more…
Harmonised EU entry and residence rules that will make it easier and more attractive for students and researchers from third countries to study or do research at EU universities were informally agreed by MEPs and ministers on Tuesday. The deal also has provisions to clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs, so as to facilitate cultural exchanges. These rules still need to be approved by Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers.
“Today’s agreement means without a doubt that our European universities are strengthening their competitiveness in the global arena, becoming more attractive than ever for talented, ambitious and highly-educated people from other countries, who will receive considerably improved conditions here”, said Parliament’s lead MEP on the file Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE).
The new rules merge two existing directives (one on students and one on researchers) to ensure that: read more…
Press release from the Alde-group:
As the humanitarian and migration crisis worsens each day, the European Council and the European Commission multiply financial pledges to third countries to persuade them to ‘park’ applicants for asylum and immigration on their territory. After Turkey and the Balkans, the Union will now increase support to Africa next week. At a joint meeting in Strasbourg held today during of the plenary session of the European Parliament, the parliamentary committees on Budgets (BUDG) and on Civil Liberties (LIBE) have sounded the alarm regarding the possibility of any new commitments on the European budget.
Cecilia WIKSTRÖM (Folkpartiet liberalerna, Sweden), ALDE Coordinator in LIBE, concluded: “We speak of the refugee crisis as if it were a threat to us! But it is foremost a threat to those who have left everything under the Assad bombs, it’s a threat to those children who saw their parents murdered by Daesh, it’s a threat to the thousands of people who seek to flee, putting their lives at risk. If there is a crisis in Europe, it’s the crisis of Member States failing to act.” read more…
Press release from the ALDE group:
Commenting on the news that Austria will build a fence on its border with Slovenia, the first wall to be built within the Schengen area ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt said:
“Austria is destroying the Schengen area from within. Instead of building fences, the Austrians should help the Slovenians to protect their border as decided last Sunday during the Summit on the Western Balkan route. Or use the bricks of their so-called fence to build schools in the refugee camps! In a Schengen area with joint borders, Slovenia’s border is Austrian’s border. ”
Cecilia Wikström (Sweden, Folkpartiet), ALDE’s spokesperson on the refugee crisis:
“At a time when a record of 60 million people globally are fleeing their homes due to war and oppression, it is unacceptable that Austria plans to build a wall of barbed wire towards another EU-member state in an attempt to prevent refugees from entering, instead of showing solidarity and humanity. Building walls has historically never proven to be a viable approach. The refugees do not disappear just because certain member states are trying to isolate themselves. As long as Europe keeps the values of peace, democracy and security high, people will do everything they can to find a way to get here. If somebody builds a wall of three meters somebody will get ladder of four.” read more…