The European Parliament has overwhelmingly called for the establishment of humanitarian visas to allow for safe and legal pathways to the EU for asylum-seekers.
Today´s vote* – after the original ballot in November was voided – tasked the Commission with presenting a concrete proposal for a new EU humanitarian visa system, which would allow people in need of international protection to reach Europe without putting their lives at risk.
This includes allowing people to request visa at EU embassies or consulates abroad, giving them access to European territory for the sole purpose of submitting an asylum application.
However, the approved text is limited to a voluntary scheme rather than being legally binding. That said, MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat (Independent, France) is pleased with today’s outcome:
“Despite right-wing attempts to water down the text, I am delighted that the vote has been overwhelmingly adopted in plenary today. An absolute majority of MEPs clearly believe in humanitarian visas which we hope will end the deaths in the Mediterranean,” she said.
*An absolute majority of MEPs voted in favour of the report: 429 in favour, 194 against and 41 abstained.