The European Commission on Wednesday launched a fresh bid to improve the way the burden of migration is shared among member states of the European Union (EU) and the mechanism for the return of rejected asylum seekers.
“Migration is complex… We want to live up to our values and at the same time face the challenges of a globalized world,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, acknowledging that the old system Europe used to deal with migration “no longer works.”
“It is not a question whether member states should support with solidarity and contributions, but how they should do it,” she said when announcing the commission’s Package on Migration and Asylum.
“Together we have to show that Europe manages migration in a humane and effective way,” she said, adding that the new package offers “the right balance between solidarity and responsibility.”
The new pact has been brought forward as Italy, Greece and Malta plead for help from the EU to share the burden of migration. It also comes after a fire ripped through an overcrowded camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, leaving many migrants homeless.
The pact proposes improved cooperation between countries of destination and countries of origin and transit, ensuring effective procedures, successful integration of refugees and return of those who have no right to stay.
European Commission Vice-President for Promoting the European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said
the incident in Greece was “a stark reminder that the clock has run out on how long we can live in a house half-built.”
“The pact provides the missing pieces of the puzzle for a comprehensive approach to migration,” he said. “No one member state experiences migration in the same way and the different and unique challenges faced by all deserve to be recognized, acknowledged and addressed.”
Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said the new set of proposals will mean “clear, fair and faster border procedures, so that people do not have to wait in limbo.” They will also enhance efforts to find “fast returns, more legal pathways and strong actions to fight human smugglers.”
The proposals will now be examined by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.
Since 2015, the stance of the Hungarian Government on migration has been clear and unchanged. We have presented this stance and our proposals on several occasions.
We believe that the European Union and its member states must cooperate in keeping the looming migration pressure outside our borders. To this end, we should form alliances with countries of origin, so that they are able to provide proper living standards and ensure that their people do not have to leave their homelands. Instead of importing the trouble to Europe, we must bring help to where it is needed.
We believe that Europe’s borders must be protected:
External hotspots will have to be established to process asylum claims; we must ensure that the external borders of the EU and the Schengen Area remain perfectly sealed along all sections.
Our goal is to see EU member states support each other in achieving the tasks above. While Hungary does not support obligatory distribution, it does defend joint borders, and we expect to receive the same amount of support as other Schengen states protecting those external borders.
We would like to remind everyone that since the 2015 migration crisis, the Hungarian Government has spent more than 1 billion euros on protecting the borders of Hungary and the European Union, without a single cent of contribution from Brussels.