Dear Heads of State and Government,
Europe is facing a make or break moment. At the meeting of the European Council on March 17 you will have to take resolute decisions to prove to Member States and European citizens that resolving the migration crisis with European solutions is possible. The alternative will be a patchwork of national measures that will further aggravate the migration crisis and inflict another blow to European cohesion and integration.
We urge you to support the proposals of the European Commission to roll back the re-introduction of national border controls and re-establish the full implementation of the Schengen arrangements as soon as possible, preferably before the December 2016 deadline.
On the basis of the current treaties, you can decide to urgently establish a European Border and Coast Guard. This would have the competence and resources to support and intervene when national border authorities in the most exposed Member States are faced with situations beyond their capabilities.
At the same time, you should urge the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to rapidly adopt the legislative package for a permanent Border and Coast Guard proposed by the European Commission and significantly scale up its ambition in terms of personnel, own resources and means. This should be the first step of a plan to progressively integrate all national border forces into a European border management system in order to effectively manage the common European border.
We urge you to put in motion a revision of the Dublin Regulation that ensures a fair distribution of all refugees and migrants among all EU Member States in the spirit of European solidarity, building on the relocation settlement mechanism you agreed upon last December. Its scope should be broadened to cover all refugees arriving on EU soil and the European Commission should be given the competence and resources required for its direct implementation. This is the only way to ensure that the European Union can live up to its duty to accept and integrate the high number of people currently seeking protection in Europe.
A deal with Turkey is necessary to address the emergency we are facing, but it needs to ensure that the EU complies with its obligations under international law. The deal should allow for the EU to maintain control of who can enter the European Union and under which conditions. Any assessment of who is entitled to asylum or international protection in the European Union should not be left to Turkish authorities. This responsibility must be placed with EU personnel on the ground, in cooperation with Turkish authorities, and ensure the EU meets its legal obligations to give international protection to those entitled to it. All those resettled to the EU should be distributed proportionally and fairly among all Member States. The status, conditions and treatment of all migrants who are not resettled to the EU should be monitored by the EU and must comply with international humanitarian standards and law.
Today, as at the time of the financial crisis, you are once again called to act as if you were an emergency European Government. However, a collective of 28 national democratic governments – each with its own national constituency, different national priorities and national daily preoccupations – does not equal a permanent, democratic and effective European Government. It is urgent that you start a reflection and enter into a debate with the European Parliament and the national parliaments on a reform of the governance of the European Union, within and beyond the current Treaties, that ensures that, building on the European Commission, the European Union gets its own true and permanent government that can look after the European Union as a whole and can act in a timely and effective manner.
Mercedes BRESSO, Member of the European Parliament
Elmar BROK, Chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee
Pascal DURAND, Member of the European Parliament
Sylvie GOULARD, Member of the European Parliament
Danuta HÜBNER, Chair of the European Parliament Constitutional Affairs Committee
Jo LEINEN, Member of the European Parliament
Ulrike LUNACEK, Member of the European Parliament
Guy VERHOFSTADT, President of the ALDE group in the European Parliament
The Spinelli Group is a group of pro-European and federalist members of the European Parliament. It is chaired by Elmar Brok (EPP) and Jo Leinen (S&D). The Board includes Mercedes Bresso (S&D), Pascal Durand (Greens/EFA), Sylvie Goulard (ALDE), Danuta Hübner (EPP) and Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE). The Spinelli Group association is chaired by former MEP and European Vice President Isabelle Durant.
Further information on www.spinelligroup.eu.
Press contact: David Garcia,
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