Return of illegally staying third-country nationals

Tuesday, 12 Apr 2016, 10:11


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Maltese MEP Miriam Dalli is leading the negotiations on behalf of the Socialists & Democrats on the European Commissions’ proposal about a travel document for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals.

This particular proposal, which forms part of the European Agenda on Migration, aims at establishing a document, which would be accepted by countries of origin, when migrants are returned to their countries.

“Europe’s migration policy must be inclusive of a number of elements. Relocation and resettlement are part of the strategy. However, return is also a very important element. Migrants whose application for asylum has been refused and others who no longer qualify for such protection must be returned to their country of origin in a humane way. It is only through such a process that we can have a functional EU asylum policy,” said Miriam Dalli when appointed in this role.

“A number of border member states, including Malta, are made to shoulder more responsibility than they can handle when dealing with migration, since they cannot return failed asylum applicants. This is due to a number of pending issues with third countries,” Miriam Dalli said.

Dr Dalli argued that the EU system for the return of illegally staying third-country nationals is not effective. In 2014 less than 40% of return decisions were actually implemented and migrants end up in a legal conundrum.

“Effective but dignified returns are the only way forward to elevate some pressure from countries like Malta, and for achieving a European Common Asylum Policy. It is only through such means that we can really fulfil our humanitarian obligations”, said the Maltese MEP.

This is the second migration-related legislative proposal that Miriam Dalli is working on. She is also the S&D’s main negotiator on the legislative changes to the permanent relocation mechanism, which is an integral part of the Dublin regulation.

“Changes in the Dublin regulation cannot be cosmetic. Dublin did not withstand the test of time. The undue pressure on border member states, and the deaths of thousands in the Mediterranean Sea are a sad testament of such failure” Miriam Dalli highlighted.

The Dublin rules have been criticised for the undue pressure they put on border member states like Malta. These rules stipulate that border member states where a migrant makes his first entry in Europe shall be responsible for processing asylum or protection applications.

“The European Commission’s option which proposes only modest changes will not deliver the solutions we so urgently require.  Europe’s asylum policy needs to be one that shifts responsibility away from front line states. It should be based on solidarity and responsibility sharing and we urgently need a realistic permanent relocation mechanism,” concluded MEP Dalli.

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