With EU migration ministers meeting today, the S&D Group in the European Parliament is concerned about the influence of the extreme right on the Swedish Presidency and the negative consequences for the respect of international and EU laws and the fundamental rights in the area of migration and asylum. S&D MEPs are urging the Council to focus on making progress on finding agreement on the migration and asylum package, particularly on the Asylum and Migration Management Regulation and the Crisis Regulation. The informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers is taking place in Stockholm from 26 to 27 January and is chaired by the Swedish Presidency.
S&D leader, Iratxe García, said:
“At today’s meeting, the Swedish Presidency looks like it wants to focus only on returning asylum-seekers instead of discussing a sustainable EU asylum and migration policy based on shared responsibility and solidarity. It is clear the Swedish government is being propped up by a far-right party that wants to return to a bygone era. I hope that the European Commission will not follow and will put pressure to live up to EU values.
“The latest revelations from Lighthouse Reports on the detention and mistreatment of migrants on ferries between Italy and Greece are very worrying and disturbing. People are being illegally returned by underground arrangements without being given the opportunity to lodge an asylum claim. Denying a basic fundamental right such as the right to asylum is a serious human rights violation that deserves some attention by the ministers at today’s meeting.”
Gaby Bischoff, S&D vice-president responsible for home affairs, said:
“Time is running out fast and with five months left we want to see the Swedish Presidency focus more on making progress on a migration and asylum package, compliant with the international and EU acquis. This is what we expect to see. Moreover, if we saw more energy going into discussing legal pathways at the EU’s disposal, such as humanitarian visas, education and employment, and family reunification, then cooperation with third countries would be much more beneficial for all sides.”