Humanitarian visas can play important role in solving the refugee crisis, say S&D MEPs

Humanitarian visas can play important role in solving the refugee crisis, say S&D MEPs, S&D MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Reducing illicit migration, S&D MEP Cécile Kyenge, replacement of the Dublin system,

Members of the European Parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee today backed S&D Group demands for the introduction of new humanitarian visas to help address the refugee crisis. The Committee also backed a separate cross-party report setting out the Parliament's view on all aspects of migration.

S&D MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, author of the report on the EU visa code, said:

"Humanitarian visas are essential. We are not going to solve this crisis by simply building walls. Reducing illicit migration will not be possible unless we offer legal, safe routes into Europe. The approach of the last few months has clearly failed. Watching men, women and children making long, dangerous journeys across Europe to reach the country they wish to apply for asylum in makes no sense. We need to look at new approaches. We are calling on the Commission to look at the feasibility of allowing persons seeking international protection to apply for a European humanitarian visa directly at consulates or embassies of the member states. This visa would then entitle its holder to enter the member state issuing the visa for the sole purpose of lodging an application for international protection. If we are to get to grips with the refugee crisis, we need to look at bold new ideas."

S&D MEP Cécile Kyenge, co-author of the report on a holistic approach to migration, added:

"What the last few years have shown is that we need an overhaul of the EU's migration policy. The home affairs committee has today backed the Parliament's view of what needs to be done. Firstly, we are calling for permanent, robust and effective Union search and rescue operations to help prevent the tragic and needless deaths we have seen in the last few years.  This must be followed by a replacement of the Dublin system - under which refugees must apply for asylum in the first country that they arrive in in the EU - with a centralised European system. Under the new system, refugees would be distributed across the Union on the basis of fair and objective criteria.

"These measures should go hand in hand with more general rules governing the entry and residence of migrants seeking employment in the Union. This is important so that we can address the major skills shortages in the EU labour market. EU governments need to finally wake up and see that there is no national solution to the refugee crisis. The only way forward is to create a truly holistic and European approach to migration."