The Civil Liberties Committee on Tuesday quizzed Ylva Johansson, candidate for the home affairs portfolio, on migration and asylum, security and the future of Schengen.

Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Swedish Commissioner-designate Johansson.

A fresh start on migration and asylum

During her introductory speech, Ms Johansson stressed that one of her main tasks would be to propose a new pact on migration and asylum. “It is difficult, but failure is simply not an option”, she said. Legal and safe pathways to the EU for migrants are also part of the solution, Johansson noted.

MEPs asked Johansson to clarify how she plans to build consensus on reforming the asylum system. They also put forward several questions on search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, the situation of migrants and asylum seekers stranded in Libya and the agreements with non-EU countries on migration.

EU’s security strategy and the future of Schengen

Ms Johansson explained that her aim is to build an effective Security Union. She committed to work tirelessly against terrorism and all forms of radicalisation. On Schengen, Johansson stressed that her key objective is to return to a fully functioning, internal border control-free Schengen area.

MEPs also questioned the Commissioner-designate on the measures to be taken on organised crime, respect for fundamental rights in security and border control policies as well as the possible future enlargement of the Schengen area.

Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.

EPP: Disappointing lack of detail

The EPP Group is disappointed by the lack of detail and vision demonstrated by the Commissioner-designate for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, during her hearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on Tuesday.

“We had very high expectations for the Commissioner-designate before her hearing. She will be responsible for some of the most challenging and sensitive topics being discussed on a European level at the moment and that comes with great responsibility”, said Roberta Metsola MEP, EPP Group Spokeswoman for the committee.

“We are pleased that she underlined the need for improving the rate of return of those not eligible for protection in Europe, stepping up resettlement, that she committed to concrete measures to destroy trafficking networks and that she so categorically supported the need for a portfolio on protecting the European Way of Life under this European Commission. On the other hand, we expected more detail and more vision from her answers on the fight against terrorism, the Asylum and Migration Fund, the fair sharing of responsibility, border security, Europol, property crime and safeguarding our Schengen area, to be more concrete. On these issues, citizens are looking for guarantees from the European Commission and they did not get that today”, Metsola underlined.