"Creation of 'humanitarian visas' could stop many needless deaths", say S&D MEPs
Members of the S&D Group today met with legal experts to discuss proposals for the creation of humanitarian visas, which would allow asylum seekers to fly directly from a third country to where they are applying for asylum.
Tanja Fajon, S&D Vice-President responsible for migration issues, said:
"We can only stop the chaos of the last few months if we provide safe, legal routes into Europe for those fleeing war and persecution. The S&D Group wants to see the EU visa code amended so that humanitarian visas can be issued more easily, allowing asylum seekers to fly directly to their final destination rather than making long and often dangerous journeys on land and sea. The current system has led to thousands of needless deaths in the Mediterranean, these could have been prevented if those seeking refuge had safe pathways into the EU."
Juan Fernando López Aguilar, S&D coordinator for the Visa Code regulation, added:
"There is a renewed focus on stricter border controls and return of failed asylum seekers at this week's Valletta Summit of EU and African leaders. These measures will not solve the crisis or absolve EU Member States from their legal obligations towards those fleeing war and persecution. Last month, 900 leading international lawyers wrote to the EU institutions to remind us of our responsibilities towards refugees. Anyone who works with lawyers knows how hard it is to get just two to agree on anything, the fact 900 did shows how clear the case for a new, more humane approach to tackling the refugee crisis is.
"Today, we met with some of these experts to discuss how a system of humanitarian visas would work in practice. We are pushing to amend the EU visa code to ensure that these provisions are available, so that we can finally end the needless deaths on our borders and in our seas."
Note to editors
The full version of the open letter to the EU from international lawyers is available here