For a common migration and asylum policy

Submitted by Political Commission 3: External Affairs and Global Governance
Adopted by the Federal Committee in Turku on 21 October 2018. Re-adopted and amended by the online Federal Committee on 26 June 2021

Conflicts, political turmoil, economic disparities as well as climate change generate migration towards Europe. The European Union, so far, proved itself totally unprepared to tackle the human rights violations and humanitarian crisis faced by refugees and migrants. Member States are reacting unilaterally and against the common European interest. Unilateral actions are ineffective and damaging to major European achievements and values, such as the Schengen Agreement, peaceful cooperation between Member States and human rights. The Young European Federalists urges the EU to give a stronger common response to this global challenge, in the field of migration, asylum and border control policies.

JEF Europe,

  1. Alarmed by the persisting human rights violations and humanitarian crisis faced by migrants and refugees in Europe, despite the decreasing number of arrivals;
  2. Noting that conflicts, climate change and growing economic disparities will continue to lead to migrant and refugee arrivals in Europe if these root causes of migration are not seriously addressed;
  3. Acknowledging that the charge of welcoming refugees is left to countries neighbouring conflicts or other humanitarian disasters and that these countries are often hosting numbers far beyond their capacities;
  4. Deploring that the EU has been sidelined by its Member States and is incapable of developing a common strategy, speaking with one voice and acting consequently because of the unanimity rule;
  5. Further deploring that some Members States, prioritising national interest over the common European interest, have been blocking Commission proposals for a collective approach, such as the New Pact for Migration and Asylum, and in doing so put major achievements of the European integration process, such as the freedom of movement, at risk;
  6. Believing that the Schengen area and the freedom of movement are two of the greatest achievements of the EU and that they should be preserved;
  7. Regretting that the EU has given billions of euros to Turkey since March 2016 to detain migrants and refugees in bad conditions on its shores;
  8. Deploring that the EU-Turkey deal puts the EU in a weak position and empowers Turkey to use its role as a “border post” of the European Union to threaten the EU over fallouts in their relationship, for instance regarding Cyprus, democracy or visa liberalisation;
  9. Deeply concerned that some Member States have refused to welcome ships rescuing migrants and refugees’ lives in the Mediterranean in their ports, and sometimes have gone as far as actively repelling ships, putting lives at risk and possibly breaching international law;
  10. Convinced that EU-led search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and in the Aegean Sea are necessary to save lives;
  11. Condemning the criminalisation of NGOs operating in search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean Sea made by several EU Member States’ governments;
  12. Emphasising that the fundamental rights and duties of a human being declared in the European Convention of Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union must always be respected;
  13. Recognising that various pieces of EU legislation have been adopted in order to create a common asylum policy in line with the objective set out in Article 78 TFEU, including Directive 2011/95 (“Qualifications Directive”) and Directive 2013/33 (“Reception Conditions Directive”);

JEF Europe, therefore,

  1. Insists on the need for a common EU policy on migration, asylum, subsidiary protection and temporary protection which fully complies with binding obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and respects the non-refoulement principle;
  2. Exhorts the EU to accelerate the phasing out of the Dublin regulations and adopt a true European asylum policy, fully respecting EU values, human rights and art. 78-79-80 TFEU, and relying on solidarity and responsibility sharing as well as on extra assistance to the countries of entry;
  3. Calls on the EU to include a European refugee status for political dissidents in its migration and asylum policies;
  4. Demands that in the future, asylum decisions and decisions on return be taken based on unified EU-wide standards, rather than disparate standards defined at the national level;
  5. Furthermore, calls on the European Commission to consider infringement procedures and financial sanctions against non-compliant Member States in the framework of migration and asylum policies;
  6. Urges the EU to stop using readmission agreements as the main tool to fight against illegal immigration, mostly because this encourages violations of human rights such as the non-refoulement principle guaranteed by the Geneva Convention;
  7. Calls for an EU policy for the Mediterranean region and beyond, ensuring a broad and intensified cooperation with third countries through the Union for the Mediterranean and other multilateral fora in order to fight human trafficking networks;
  8. Demands that the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) operates on the basis of EU values and ought not be involved in push backs;
  9. Insists that Frontex is tasked with search and rescue in the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea and demands the transformation of Operation Themis in a wider and focused EU search and rescue operation of people in distress;
  10. Invites the EU and its Member States to provide transit countries with extended assistance and further humanitarian supplies to be dedicated to the reception of asylum seekers and refugees;
  11. Calls on the EU to enhance humanitarian legal ways to safely reach the EU, without being forced to rely on illegal human trafficking such as humanitarian visas to refugees and for the establishment of common European asylum offices in third countries respecting European standards of treatment and human dignity;
  12. Demands with immediate effect the decriminalisation of private sea rescue by EU states;
  13. Encourages the EU to open legal channels for economic migration;
  14. Demands the EU to further facilitate cross-border mobility for cultural and educational exchanges with Third Country Nationals;
  15. Condemns any proposal regarding migration and asylum policy that relies on building walls and fences, and urges the EU and its Member States to build an open continent instead of a Fortress Europe and internal barriers;
  16. Demands that the Schengen Agreements are safeguarded at all times, borders are reopened where they have been closed and border controls are put to an end without delay;
  17. Calls on the EU to withdraw from the EU-Turkey deal and to not use it as a model for deals with other countries, because it does not fully respect the 1951 Geneva Convention and because of the poor guarantees the Turkish Government can offer regarding the respect of human rights and of the principle of non-refoulement;
  18. Demands a new partnership to overcome the short-term vision of the European Union and its Member States to make development assistance conditional on cooperation regarding migration, because it goes against EU values and makes assistance less effective;
  19. Urges European leaders to change radically their migration and asylum narratives to make space for more sustainable and humane migration and asylum narratives and policies;
  20. Commits itself to explore opportunities for cooperation and exchange with young migrants and youth organisations working with refugees and migrants.