EU migration debate: European Socialists and Democrats urge reason and real facts ahead of JHA Council

Two years of internal border controls will put one of EU's greatest achievements at risk, say S&D MEPs, Gianni Pittella, Birgit Sippel, control checks and border queues, Schengen,

This report is a proposed first-reading agreement for the establishment of the justice programme from 2014 to 2020 as one the financing programmes to be adopted in the framework of the next multi-annual financial framework (MFF). The main aims of the programme are: to facilitate and support judicial co-operation in civil and criminal matters; to support and promote judicial training with a view to fostering a common legal and judicial culture; and to facilitate effective access to justice for all. Judicial training, judicial co-operation and aWhile an emotional debate on intra-EU migration, social security access and the prospective lifting of restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers and their Schengen area access continues in several European countries, European Socialists and Democrats are calling for a fact-based analysis of the situation.

Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, said:

"Right-wing populists are pushing a debate in several countries that is partially or completely based on misleading fantasy facts and figures. To try and spread fear and anxiety ahead of the European elections is a cheap way to fish for votes, and not particularly conducive to democratic principles.

"In reality, free movement in Europe has greatly contributed to increasing prosperity and economic resilience. In many countries the service industry for instance - public and private - depends on people who left their countries and are now working for the benefit of their new home countries. Regarding so-called 'poverty migration' we must fight poverty, not migration. This includes the need for more determination by the governments of those countries with the highest levels of poverty.

"The current, ugly debate is specifically targeting Romanian and Bulgarian workers - ahead of the 1 January 2014 deadline and while Schengen membership is pending. I sincerely hope this debate will not blind the Justice and Home Affairs Council. EU interior ministers should look at the actual criteria for Schengen access and will find that both Romania and Bulgaria fully comply. These are the kind of facts we must base decisions on, not populist nonsense."

Romanian S&D member Ioan Enciu and Bulgarian S&D member Iliana Iotova, both of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), declared:

"It is unacceptable that the unanimity rule is still being distorted by some member states to block the accession of Romania and Bulgaria based on considerations and criteria that are not in line with the Schengen acquis, which both countries fully meet. The decision on Schengen accession must not become a political bargaining chip.

"The procedure of accession must be reformed and democratised. The recently established EU-based Schengen governance clearly calls for a settlement of the situation of both countries and for the revision of the accession procedures of new members to the Schengen area."
ccess to justice are all integral to the EU's policies in the areas of freedom, security and justice.