Ahead of a crucial European Council, during which European Union leaders will discuss how to best deal with the influx of migrants and asylum-seekers, MEPs stressed the need for an effective Common European Asylum System that respects fundamental rights.

The European Parliament adopted its position on all of the legislative files related to the reform of the EU asylum policy and is ready to start talks with EU Ministers.

“It is key that the Council comes up with comprehensive, humanitarian and effective solutions to migration at this meeting,” said Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee. “The European Parliament has done its work as co-legislator by putting forward its position on Dublin. With the reform of the Common European Asylum System the solution for an EU approach based on solidarity and shared responsibility is on the table and the Council needs to act now – and if it is not possible to take a decision by unanimity, it is time to decide by majority”.

“The cases of Aquarius and Lifeline showed us once more the importance of a decent and human EU approach and Council can no longer block the Dublin file, which is key to this,” explained Moraes.

He also stressed that “we will not support unviable policy solutions such as off-shoring that put at risk human rights. This is a red line for the Parliament”.

In turn, Cecilia Wikström (ALDE, SE), the European Parliament’s rapporteur for the reform of the Dublin Regulation, said it is time for the Council to deliver and unite. “The European Parliament has been ready to start negotiations on the Dublin regulation since November,” she said. “I hope that EU governments during the summit are willing to set enough of their differences aside at this point in order to allow for negotiations between the Parliament and Council to begin.”

Last November, the European Parliament adopted its mandate on the reform of the Dublin Regulation, which determines the member state responsible for dealing with an asylum application and is the centrepiece of a comprehensive reform of the EU asylum policy, but negotiations on the final form of the text will only begin once member states agree on their position.

MEPs have repeatedly called on the Council to show real political will to move ahead with the reforms and put an end to people dying in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe.