17 July 2015

On 16 July, the members of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE Committee) voted on the report presented last week by MEP Ska Keller on the proposal of the Commission for a voluntary relocation plan. MEPs called for a binding emergency mechanism to be put in place in order to relocate an initial total 40,000 Syrian and Eritrean asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU Member States. “A further increase shall be considered, if necessary, to adapt to rapidly changing refugee flows and trends”, MEPs said.

The LIBE committee rapporteur, Ska Keller, added “we are also calling for a permanent distribution mechanism which must go substantially beyond the current proposals.” MEPs also stressed that the preferences of asylum seekers, as well as their needs, and specific qualifications are taken into account in order to facilitate their integration and prevent secondary movements.

“It is particularly important that refugees are not sent as pieces of cargo through the EU, but that their preferences are taken into account. This is the only way to support the integration of refugees and prevent them from moving to another member state. Respecting the interests of refugees is essential for the success of the distribution key,” rapporteur Keller added.

The legislative resolution was approved by 42 votes to 14.

The Parliament will vote on this report at the next Plenary on 7 September. The Justice and Home Affairs Council will discuss the relocation scheme on Monday 20 July.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 17 July 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.