A common European response and a comprehensive debate to address the refugee crisis

The PACE Committee on Migration is convinced that “only a common European response” can address the present migratory and refugee crisis. Likewise, a comprehensive political debate based on principles of solidarity, responsibility and the highest human rights standards should accompany strategic migration management policies at European and national levels.

The draft resolution adopted on the basis of the report by Daphné Dumery (Belgium, NR) welcomes the EU’s efforts to develop a common European response involving internal and external stakeholders including non-EU countries of transit and origin, while at the same noting that the challenge “largely exceeds the measures agreed upon so far”.

According to the report, the debate cannot be limited to the question of quotas and their compulsory or voluntary nature. “While it is necessary to address the immediate humanitarian emergency without further delay, long-term measures and solutions should be identified and implemented as soon as possible”.

The draft resolution lists a series of measures targeted at Council of Europe member states and covering rescue at sea, reception conditions, legal channels of entry, reducing the incentives for irregular migration and addressing the root causes.

Among these measures, the committee calls on member states to “substantially increase” specific financial support for the immediate creation of large-scale emergency facilities in Greece and Italy, as well as emergency response assistance for Serbia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.

The idea of identification of people in need of international protection and external processing of asylum applications through hotspots set up outside Europe deserves support, the Committee said, provided human rights of refugees and migrants are guaranteed. The 47 member states are also called upon to support the establishment of hotspots designed “to receive, register and screen incoming people with a view to identifying those in need of international protection”.

Lastly, governments should “increase access to legal channels to Europe”, including enhanced resettlement and humanitarian admission, reunification and student visas for refugees from countries neighbouring Syria.

The report will be debated by the Assembly at its next plenary session (25-29 January 2016).