Migration is manageable, and the more European the system, the more manageable it becomes.
A predictable and fair migration and asylum system, European-wide, is achievable with efficient controls at external borders, and full information of people coming and leaving the EU.
The new #MigrationEU proposals show how. It starts with an EU asylum and migration fingerprint database, known as Eurodac. It will further develop the existing system and help to track unauthorized movements within the EU, tackle irregular migration and improve return from the EU to countries of origin.
Transparency means safety. A fingerprinted system means that those who qualify for international protection are known. It means new transparency for those who are vulnerable. It means fingerprinting children over the age of 6 to help protect them against the risks of trafficking. It means new traceability for those rescued at sea. It is one piece of the puzzle for faster procedures and quicker decisions on who has the right to asylum and who has to return.
Let’s look at the details.
The proposed changes to Eurodac will allow for better counting of asylum applicants, and therefore to get a more precise picture of the numbers of secondary movements within the EU and Schengen Associated Countries.
In the new proposals, the Commission also aims to register in Eurodac the Member State responsible for processing an asylum claim. Faster identification of the correct procedure will help to manage the applications of people in need of protection and vulnerable people requiring special assistance. A new category will also be created in Eurodac to cover the specific category of migrants that have reached the EU through search and rescue operations.
The upgraded Eurodac will also indicate if an application has been already rejected and if voluntary return and reintegration assistance (AVVR) has been granted.
In addition, the new Eurodac will function across Member States’ IT systems. This means that European competent authorities will be allowed to conduct parallel searches in different information systems using biometric and biographical data.
Much like the European Asylum Agency, which we talked about last week, adopting this initiative quickly will provide immediate help on the ground.
It would also help build trust between Member States and for individuals themselves. Member States because they will more easily know if another Member State has granted or refused asylum and for individuals who receive protection, as their status will be more easily communicated between Member States.
The European Union is rightly seen as a place of refuge. It is because of our democratic values. It is due to our commitment to international obligations.
Following through on these obligations in the 21st century means using 21St century tools. That way, those who deserve protection as they arrive to the European Union can continue to be protected within the European Union.
Next week we will look at how my #MigrationEU proposals will provide options for those who want to come to the European Union for economic reasons, namely safe legal pathways.