Humanitarian visas to avoid refugees' deaths

Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar

Member States should be able to issue humanitarian visas at embassies and consulates abroad, so people seeking protection can access Europe without risking their life, the Civil Liberties Committee MEPs agreed last Wednesday. They will ask the European Commission to table by end-March 2019, a legislative proposal establishing a European Humanitarian Visa. It will give access to the Member State issuing the visa for the sole purpose of submitting an application for international protection.

“Against the background of an unacceptable death toll in the Mediterranean, the EP needs to deliver. The vote today is a limited step, but nonetheless a very important political signal to the Commission. We need to do more to help those human beings in need, as there are currently clearly not enough legal and safe pathways to the EU for those seeking international protection,” rapporteur Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar (S&D, ES) said.

MEPs stress that despite numerous announcements and requests for safe and legal pathways for asylum seekers into Europe, the EU lacks a harmonised framework of protected entry procedures. They underline that, due to insufficient legal options, an estimated 90% of those granted international protection reached the EU through irregular means.

More on this subject: Migration crisis

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