The European Parliament is currently debating the new Migration and Asylum Pact, which sets out a number of reform proposals on borders, asylum and immigration. The aim is to improve the level of cooperation between EU states, bodies and agencies. The position of the European Democratic Party is clear: it is essential to support the common management of external borders, to cooperate with countries of origin and transit, to harmonise asylum legislation, to fight migrant trafficking and to promote repatriation, readmission, and reintegration policies.
Migration is one of the most natural but also one of the most complex phenomenon in human history. Europe has been shaken in recent years by the migration pressure of asylum seekers and migrants who leave their countries for various reasons.
The Right - and in particular the extreme right - has politically instrumentalised this situation, by encouraging social hatred towards migrants and by amplifying the alleged risks of multicultural societies. The rights advocacy for a ‘zero migration’ approach is yet unsustainable and unacceptable. Should it be applied in certain European countries, it would prevent solidarity at the EU level and therefore a balanced repartition of migrants within the EU to be operated. The Left, on the other hand, has always had a solidarity and humanitarian attitude but it does not fully understand the consequences on the social fabric of ungoverned, disorganised or illegal migration. It is time for an approach that is both humain and pragmatic, aimed at integrating and cooperating, but also at regulating and enforcing EU legislation. It is also time for a real European approach that is respectful of the needs and sensibilities of the Northern and Southern European countries, which are affected by migration processes in different ways.
Europe's borders, whether they are on land or at sea, must be effectively protected by national forces coordinated and flanked by European forces. This must be done with common rules of engagement that provide tools to fight the human traffickers' mafia and ensure the rescue at sea of those in danger: illegal immigration can no longer be an option for our continent. The priority must be to reject, with equal strength, walls to be built while reinforcing our external borders.
Must be the choice of those who receive. Those who arrive must be helped to be socially, economically, and culturally integrated, to have adequate education and professional training, and to be guided towards employment: disordered immigration in refugee camps or marginalised in run-down neighbourhoods must become just a memory. Fighting illegal immigration and integrating effectively are also the best tools to guarantee security. On the other hand, the evaluation of asylum applications must be accelerated, with a European system for request monitoring and a strengthening of the exchange of information.
Must not be a simple slogan: it must be materialised in an action plan that targets countries of origin generating the largest number of asylum seekers and migrants. Such an action plan must foresee economic investments, the development of welfare and education systems through new partnerships on equal bases, and the involvement of civil societies and young people. It must use tools such as visas and development cooperation as incentives for a real partnership with the countries of origin and must include effective cooperation for returns, especially assisted and voluntary returns. The processing of requests must be accelerated to ensure maximum efficiency.
We must also manage economic migration with common European policies, taking into account the needs of the European labour market and regulating economic flows through "European quotas" of migration, with legal channels of arrival in our continent which all countries commit to respect. Finally, in order to face new geopolitical challenges, the new Euro-African partnership must leave behind strictly national logic and promote a new transnational relationship between the European Union and the African Union. More generally, we must guarantee rescues at sea in order to save lives.
Migration will be one of the pillars of the EDP's proposals for the 2024 European elections. We will continue to work with our representatives at local, regional, national and European level to achieve our set objectives.