S&Ds propose new framework for "humanitarian visas"
The Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament has called for a new system to ensure humanitarian visas are issued faster and within a more transparent framework. The increased use of 'humanitarian visas' would allow migrants in need to travel legally to Europe to then claim asylum, helping address the humanitarian crisis on Europe's borders.
Speaking at a hearing on updating the EU Visa Code, Tanja Fajon, S&D Vice-President and rapporteur for the parliament report on the issue said:
"If we are going to get to grips with the tragic situation in the Mediterranean we need a bold new approach. It is our obligation to do everything possible to prevent further loss of life at sea. Although we fully support the Commission's proposals regarding binding visa quotas, we must also reduce the number attempting the crossing in the first place. We are proposing using existing laws to increase the number of visas issued on humanitarian grounds that would provide a safe legal route into Europe for potential asylum seekers."
"Many of those risking their lives in makeshift boats do so because they have no way of getting to our continent legally. We must show them that there is another way. The provision of humanitarian visas is not the entire solution but we must seriously consider any idea that can help save lives."
Notes for editors
The EU Visa Code was introduced in 2009 and is currently being reviewed by the European Parliament. The parliament report is being drafted and will be voted on in the autumn.