The European Parliament today backed calls for the creation of humanitarian visas, which would allow those seeking international protection a safe, legal way to enter the European Union.
“Currently there is no provision in EU law to allow those seeking international protection to arrive legally in Europe. This has forced thousands of people fleeing war or persecution to engage in life threatening trips across the Mediterranean. This only benefits people smugglers, who can charge enormous fees for false promises of safe passage to Europe. We cannot simply close our borders and ignore the plight of those most in need. If we are to meet our moral and legal obligations to help those seeking asylum, we need a mechanism that allows those most in need to reach Europe safely,” said S&D Group MEP responsible for the report Juan Fernando López Aguilar.
“For years, we have been calling for the creation of humanitarian visas, which would allow those most in need to travel from a third country to the member state in which they are seeking asylum directly. Today the European Parliament has heeded that message and called on the European Commission to finally come forward with legislative proposals. Although some member states have provisions to allow for this, there is currently no EU-wide scheme. Climate change and continued instability in Northern Africa and the Middle East mean that people will continue to look to Europe as a safe haven from war and persecution. If we want to manage our asylum systems effectively then we need a holistic approach, not one just based on keeping people out. Humanitarian visas are an important part of this that can help stop more needless deaths in the Mediterranean by providing safe, legal ways to reach Europe,” he added.