Citizens writing to the European Parliament expressed grief about the fate of migrants who risk their lives to reach Europe, voiced their support for action to be taken in order to prevent further loss of lives, and urged the EU to tackle the growing migration pressure on EU Member States.
Immigration rules are not the same in every EU country. For example, all final decisions on migrant applications or on rules on long-term visas (stays for periods longer than three months), are taken at Member State level.
In light of the shortcomings of this patchwork of 28 different national systems, the European Parliament has repeatedly pointed to the need for a holistic EU approach to migration. It has also called on numerous occasions upon the EU and the Member States to do everything possible to prevent further loss of life at sea, e.g. by expanding the mandate of the “Triton” operation in the Mediterranean, as stated for example in the European Parliament resolution of 29 April 2015 on the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean. MEPs also called for a binding quota for distributing asylum seekers among all EU countries, bigger contributions to resettlement programmes, better cooperation with third countries and tougher measures against human traffickers. More information is available in this press release.
In July 2015, the Parliament approved an extra 69.6 million Euro for extra staff and other expenses for three EU agencies managing migration flows into the EU and two EU funds for migration measures, as explained in this press release of 7 July 2015.
Based on the Parliament resolution of 17 December 2014 on the situation in the Mediterranean, the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee is currently working on a strategic own-initiative report that should provide the plenary before the end of 2015 a set of recommendations regarding the situation in the Mediterranean and a holistic EU approach to migration. The procedure file contains detailed information on the status of this report.
European Agenda on Migration
In view of the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean, the heads of state or government decided at the special meeting of the European Council on 23 April 2015 to strengthen the EU presence at sea, to fight human traffickers, to prevent illegal migration flows and to reinforce internal solidarity and responsibility.
In reaction to the requests from the Parliament and the Council, on 13 May 2015 the European Commission presented a European Agenda on Migration. On 27 May 2015, the European Commission adopted first proposals for several concrete measures to respond to the current migration challenges.
The Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States discussed these proposals at its mid-June summit focusing on three key dimensions — relocation/resettlement, return/readmission/reintegration and cooperation with countries of origin and transit. Further details are available in the conclusions of the European Council of 25 and 26 June 2015.
The European Parliament has published analyses on migration and fact sheets about immigration policy, management of the external borders, asylum policy and humanitarian aid. Further information is available on the European Commission webpage on migration and home affairs, on the European Commission webpage ‘Towards a European agenda on Migration‘ and on the website of Frontex, the European External Borders Agency.