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07 Dec 2018

EU Commission to Propose the Establishment of European Humanitarian Visa

European Humanitarian VisaThe European Commission will have to draft a legislative proposal for the establishment of an EU visa for asylum seekers upon the request of the EU Civil Liberties Committee. With 37 votes pro and 10 against, the committee agreed on Monday that the EC should establish a proposal on such a visa, before March 31, 2019.

The new European Humanitarian Visa would permit asylum seekers to enter one of the Schengen countries under the purpose of seeking international protection.

The EU rapporteur for the proposal Juan Fernando López Aguilar asserted that this is the last chance for the EU to approve the humanitarian visa.

“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,” he concluded.

The LIBE Committee estimates that the establishment of such a visa would help to address the refugees’ death toll in the Mediterranean and on the migration routes to the EU, to combat human smuggling, and to manage arrivals, reception and processing of asylum claims better.

According to a press release of the European Parliament, at least 30,000 people have died at the EU borders since 2000.

“This tool should also contribute to optimizing member states’ and the EU’s budget for asylum, law enforcement procedures, border control, surveillance and search and rescue activities,” the press release quotes the MEPs.

It also stresses out that those applying for an EU Humanitarian Visa will have to undergo security screening through the relevant national and European databases.

During the same meeting the MEPs agreed to harmonize and co-ordinate the EU Visa Code, including important changes to make it easier for frequent travelers to obtain a visa, and inserting stricter security checks.

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