MEP Ramona Mănescu (EPP, PNL) – The stand on binding quota for the distribution of asylum seekers among all the Member States

MEP’s Ramona Mănescu (EPP, PNL) stand on binding quota for the distribution of asylum seekers, as proposed by the European Commission:

”One of the main topics of debate in the European Parliament these days is the refugee crisis.

epp groupThere is an equal interest on this subject in Romania and I believe some elaboration on two matters is necessary, considering how European decision making can be rather difficult to follow sometimes. The first matter is related to the Stand on binding quota for the distribution of asylum seekers among all the Member States, and the second matter of the unquestionable human tragedy that spreads from Middle East to the middle of European continent.

I stand against the mandatory “quotas”, established in a bureaucratic way, without considering the real situation on the ground. In the same time, I strongly believe in all European values and I can’t let those that are about solidarity and protecting the vulnerable ones pass.

ramona manescu fbThe recent decisions taken by the European Parliament begun on Tuesday[1], 8th of September, debate upon the main legal document: European Parliament Report[2] on the proposal for a Council decision establishing provisional measures in the area of international protection for the benefit of Italy and Greece[3].

The Rapporteur from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) for this document was the German MEP Ska Keller from the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance.

In short, the text proposed by the Council refers to the procedures and complementary measures regarding the handling of the refugees from Italy and Greece together with the relocation of 40.000 of them to other Member States.

According with the annexes[4], the text proposes the relocation of 1.023 refugees who are coming from Italy and 682 from Greece to Romania, summing up to 1.705 immigrants.

Additionally, the document stipulates that each Member State will have to deliver information periodically on the number of applicants who can be relocated to their territory. This procedure is of major importance for Romania, as it did not face such challenges and it needs the financial and logistic support of EU and those countries that are more experienced in building and managing refugee centres. It is in everyone’s interest that Romania to approach this joint humanitarian effort with maximum of seriousness and responsibility.

LIBE Committee, proposed two amendments to this Report that are profoundly changing its content and that I cannot agree with.These modifications are introducing the idea of “binding quota for the distribution of asylum seekers among all the Member States”.

The two amendments (number 3 and 4) are the following:

(4a) The temporary measures for emergency relocation are only one part of the holistic approach to migration as outlined in the Commission’s communication of 13 May 2015 entitled, ‘A European Agenda on Migration’ and the forthcoming own-initiative report by the European Parliament. The European Parliament stresses that all dimensions of the holistic approach are important and should be advanced in parallel. At its meeting of 25 and 26 June, the European Council agreed, in particular, in the light of the current emergency situation and of the commitment to reinforce solidarity and responsibility, on the temporary and exceptional relocation over two years from Italy and Greece to other Member States of 40 000 persons in clear need of international protection. Member States should agree on binding quota for the distribution of such persons.

(5) In its resolution of 28 April 2015, the European Parliament reiterated the need for the Union to base its response to the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean on solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility and to step up its efforts in this area towards Member States which receive the highest number of refugees and applicants for international protection in either absolute or proportional terms on the basis of the criteria for establishing the Member State responsible for examining an application for international protection in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council1a. The European Parliament called for among all the Member States.

During the meeting of the EPP Romanian Delegation it was decided that Romanian MEPs to vote against these amendments and the EPP Leader was notified accordingly. Despite the numerous votes against[5] the two amendments, they received the green light from the European Parliament[6]. For the first one there were 471 favourable votes, 204 against and 17 abstentions. For the second one, there were 488 favourable votes, 167 against and 37 abstentions.

Because of the pressure coming from the politicians representing those countries in favour of a binding quota mechanism, Wednesday evening (9th of September), the MEPs were notified about the introducing of a new document on the debates and voting agenda on the following day.

This new document, is a “joint motion for a Resolution on migration and refugees in Europe”[7], which is mostly redundant to theReport text voted the day before.

The main difference between a Report and a Resolution is that while the Report is a strong legal text, with immediate effects, the Resolution has just the strength of a political declaration coming from the European Parliament, which recommends a course of action to the Executive bodies.

Considering the content of this second text, which mostly makes a reference to the concern that we all have regarding the unquestionable human tragedy and the refugee crisis that are spreading now from the Middle East up to the very heart of Europe, and starts with:

  1. Expresses its deep regret and sorrow at the tragic loss of lives of people seeking asylum in the EU; urges the EU and the Member States to do everything possible to prevent further loss of life at sea or on land;

  2. Expresses its solidarity with the high number of refugees and migrants who are victims of conflicts, grave violations of human rights, tangible governance failures and harsh repression;

I voted in favour of this Resolution, expressing this way my solidarity with the joint humanitarian effort of the European countries but mostly with the need of support that is requested by all the victims of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, no matter if they are still trapped in Homs – Syria, if they are waiting for the conflict to end in jordan’s Al Zaatri refugee camp, if they are in a rubber boat in the middle of Mediterranean Sea or if they are walking alongside a highway in Hungary.

I believe that Europe is facing a crisis that deepens on a daily basis and to which we must answer with the most urgency.

An increase of accommodation facilities within EU borders, without a determined and consistent involvement of Europe, will just add new refugee waves and will escalate the humanitarian crisis.

We all agree that we must tackle the deeper causes that force some to seek for a better world while others are embracing the extremists and terrorists groups. Economic disparities, lack of opportunities, collapsed education and health systems, poor infrastructure – these are the profound causes. And we can see this so clearly in the contrast between countries like Qatar, Oman or Kuwait, the immediate vicinity to those others that became the land of war and terrorist groups.

Such an approach is not just a right answer to the problems that we face today, but is also in the interest of the EU. Peaceful vicinity, stable and with convincing perspectives of economic development is in the interest and advantage of the European Union.

Within this context, Romania finds itself in a good position, being capable to contribute in promoting a sustainable solution and bringing in significant diplomatic resources.”

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[1] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+AGENDA+20150908+SIT+DOC+XML+V0//EN

[2] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A8-2015-0245+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

[3] http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-11132-2015-INIT/en/pdf

[4] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:7a15efe3-053d-11e5-8817-01aa75ed71a1.0001.03/DOC_2&format=HTML&lang=EN&parentUrn=CELEX:52015PC0286

[5] Pages 33-36: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bPV%2b20150909%2bRES-RCV%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN

[6] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bPV%2b20150909%2bRES-VOT%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN

[7] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+MOTION+P8-RC-2015-0832+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

 

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