EU Committee says new visa prevents further migrant deaths

LIBE committee meeting. Vote on the Humanitarian Visas. Copyright© European Union 2018 - Source EP

The EU’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) wants to introduce humanitarian visas to prevent further loss of life on the EU’s borders.

According to their figures, around 30,000 people have died since 2000, on the migration routes and at the EU’s borders.

Humanitarian visas, they say, would reduce this number considerably and would also work towards countering human smuggling and help to manage the processes of arrival, reception and asylum claims.

According to the MEPs, with no current EU-wide framework or procedures for those wanting international protection, coupled with the lack of legal options, around 90% of refugees granted their status or subsidiary protection in the EU, had arrived irregularly.

The proposal is that humanitarian visas would be decided and granted by independent member states, who would conduct the security screening as well as assessment of the person’s genuine need for protection in the EU.  This would not involve a full status determination process.

This would also play a part in the member state and wider EU border policing and procedures.

Juan Fernando López Aguilar, rapporteur for the proposal, said that “after more than four years of very tough negotiations, we have before us a new and possibly last opportunity to approve European Humanitarian Visas. We need to do more to help people in need, as there are currently clearly not enough legal and safe pathways to the EU for those seeking international protection.”

The LIBE committee voted in favour of the motion, and it will now be proposed for discussion at the European Commission next year.