During yesterday’s press conference the Rapporteur of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), J.F. Lopez Aguilar, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), announced his disappointment at the failure to achieve an absolutely majority in the vote on the Humanitarian Visa in Strasbourg. MEP Aguilar underlined the fact that 90% of people claiming asylum arrive in Europe irregularly. This means that these people are more often victims of smuggling, human trafficking and criminal organisations, with the consequent constant violation of their fundamental rights. Lopez Aguilar complained that the absences from yesterday’s vote was a clear and evident technical decision made to obstruct the approval of the proposal.
The proposed system would allow people seeking international protection to request a visa at EU embassies or consulates abroad, giving them access to European territory - specifically to the member state issuing the visa - for the sole purpose of submitting an asylum application. Civil Liberties Committee MEPs want with this initiative to guarantee that asylum-seekers can use legal means to enter Europe, to reduce trafficking and the subsequent death toll on the migration routes to the EU, particularly on the Mediterranean Sea. The draft report calls on the European Commission to table a legislative proposal for a humanitarian visa system, possibly by the end of March 2019.
SOLIDAR and its members firmly back the adoption of a humanitarian visa system, as well as other humanitarian pathways. We also regret that once again a possible solution to the political and administrative impasse in migration management was denied and rejected. We stress the need for a solution based on the respect of fundamental rights, that puts the safety of humans and the fight against trafficking and organised crime first. We hope that political interests and ideological reasons will be put aside in order to find a solution to this humanitarian emergency, bearing in mind the loss of lives and the effects on the diaspora. SOLIDAR also thanks NGOs and Civil Society Organisations for their tireless work to find a solution to this impasse and constantly giving priority to human lives and human rights. The desertion from the vote in Strasbourg shows a clear lack of will among some political groups to find a solution to the migration issue as soon as possible.