Joint NGO statement ahead of the European Council of 15th December 2016: EU leaders can save lives this winter if they change migration policies

Ahead of the European Council of 15 December 2016, more than 30 NGOs including SOLIDAR, sent a statement to the EU leaders asking for change in the migration policies.

Ahead of the European Council of 15 December 2016, more than 30 NGOs including SOLIDAR, sent a statement to the EU leaders asking for change in the migration policies. At the EU summit on December 15th European countries have the opportunity to make concrete changes that will determine whether the EU manages migration with respect to human rights and prevents unnecessary suffering. Its leaders should have the political strength to ensure the future of people arriving in Europe and for it to be managed humanely and responsibly. The question is whether or not they have the political will.

In the statement NGOs ask European leaders to take important steps immediately in the following direction:

  • Member States should prioritise the immediate transfer of people from overcrowded sites on the islands to open facilities on the mainland that meet European law standards for reception; 
     
  • Member States should commit to redoubling their efforts to take asylum seekers out of first countries of arrival, including Greece, prioritising the most vulnerable groups, irrespective of their nationality, enabling swift and efficient access to family reunification, relocation and a secure refugee status.
  • Member States should ensure that every person has access to protection and to a fair and efficient asylum process. The EU should respect the fundamental rights framework it has set out for itself and ensure that the desire to speed up processes is not at the expense of access to asylum.
  • The EU should halt its policy of externalising migration management through agreements such as the EU-Turkey Statement, which fall short of the EU’s commitments under refugee and human rights law. It is possible to manage migration in a dignified and humane way.

More information can be found in the joint NGO statement ahead of the European Council of 15th December 2016.