European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Wednesday migration needs a global approach to be successful and that the EU’s ability to respond to it will define the future of Europe, speaking at a High level conference on Migration management, held at the European Parliament in Brussels.
“If anything has become clear in the past two years, it is that we need not just a European but also a global approach on migration. The question is not how migration can be ‘stopped’ but how it can be better managed in a coordinated manner. Our ability to respond to it as a Union will define the future of Europe altogether. The refugee crisis taught us that purely national measures are not enough,” he said.
Avramopoulos argued that Dublin, as it exists, has proven that it cannot stand the test of time and evolution. “We need a new, more equitable Dublin, where the redistribution of responsibility is inherent to the system. And the need for a better Dublin goes beyond Dublin: if we want to continue benefiting from a Europe without internal borders, we need a predictable and efficient Dublin system.”
Despite several attempts in the past, there are still significant differences between the national asylum systems, he continued.
“It is precisely these divergences that contribute to secondary movements and asylum shopping, ultimately leading to an uneven distribution of responsibility among member states. This is why we need a harmonised, robust and fair asylum system. A system based on solidarity and fair sharing of responsibilities, where no country is left to handle such challenges on its own,” he said.
Avramopoulos claimed that the aim is also to discourage uncontrolled irregular movements, and to provide orderly and safe pathways to the EU.
“This is why we are also proposing to have a Union framework on resettlement, which will establish a common approach to safe and legal avenues to the European Union for persons in need of international protection,” he told MPs. “We also need strong external borders in order to preserve the freedom of movement of EU citizens across the Schengen area.”
He said security of the EU’s external borders has been enhanced, with over 1,600 officers supporting national forces in frontline member states, making the EU’s external borders better protected than ever before.
“We do not want a Fortress Europe. We want Europe to remain open and tolerant, and secure. This means that we have to also better regulate orderly migration and mobility – not just for those who need protection,” he said.
He then explained that migrants must be integrated in European societies in order to turn it into a ‘success story’.
“Only a successful integration of all migrants in the EU will allow turning migration into an opportunity, both for them and for our European society and economy. In a true spirit of solidarity, it is up to all of us to turn migration into a European success story,” he added.
Migration policy Yiannis Mouzalas, who also participated in the session, said the second Dublin agreement will collapse like the first, if it is not accompanied by assistance that will be sent to the countries of reception, with a split distribution of refugees in the EU member states.
He also said problems should be dealt with where they are created, noting it is hypocrisy to speak about human rights only when the refugees step on European soil. “Human rights begin in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan. That’s where we have to see them before people get into the boat,” he explained.