FECL 21 (December 1993/January 1994):

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CRITICAL OF EC-IMMIGRATION POLICY

In a Resolution adopted on 15 July, the European Parliament (EP) addresses harsh criticism to the ministers responsible of immigration of the 12 EC-member states. At their conferences in London and Copenhagen (see FECL No.11, p.1, p.10; FECL No.16, p.2; FECL No.17, p.12) they "have taken no account whatsoever" of the EP's opinions. To "look at the question of immigration solely from the point of view of public order and internal security only serves to increase unjustified fears and a false assessment of the problem in the eyes of the public", the EP says.

The Resolution mainly limits itself to a sobering assessment of ministerial work and the sad reality of European cooperation rather than making propositions. The EP has become all too aware of its lack of influence. But this realistic approach only benefits the message.

The EP shows no mercy with immigration ministers whom it describes as "inclined to come up with stopgap measures which correspond neither to the demands of the situation nor to the wishes of the European Parliament on this issue..."

Considering the agreements reached by the ministers in London and Copenhagen, the resolution does not mince matters as the following excerpt shows:

  1. the resolution on manifestly unfounded applications for asylum ignores human rights as regards legal remedy and guaranteed protection,
  2. the resolution on host third countries jeopardizes the right laid down by convention for requests for asylum to be lodged in a country chosen by the applicant political refugee,
  3. the use of a concept of safe countries may entail the risk that expulsions might take place on a statistical basis,
  4. The operations of CIREA (information, research and exchange centre on asylum) are not based on an independent statute and are not sufficiently accessible,
  5. the CIREFI (information, research and exchange centre on border crossing and immigration) has no suitable legal basis and no external control body,
  6. the resolution on the harmonisation of national policies on family reunification is likely not to respect private life as laid down in the international treaties and to lead to discrimination and uncertainty,
  7. the recommendation concerning checks on and expulsion of third-country nationals residing or working without authorization is likely to jeopardize the legal rights of residence of certain non-Community immigrants, and does not adequately guarantee the right of access to the courts.

The European Parliament further:

"Emphasizes that decision-making in the field of immigration must be transparent";

"Expresses its criticism of the Commission which, by reason of its presence in the ad hoc working party on immigration, indirectly endorses intergovernmental decisions and creates an unacceptable imbalance in the dialogue between institutions";

"Deplores the fact that the preparatory documents adopted at Copenhagen were not forwarded in advance to the European Parliament and to the national parliaments, thus preventing any discussion of the matter by those bodies";

"Takes the view that, in order to reduce the levels of immigration, priority must be given to increasing solidarity with immigrants' countries of origin by reducing their burden of debt and providing them with development assistance";

"Calls on the Member States to ensure unimpeded access to citizenship for third country nationals after a reasonable period of legal residence and to guarantee equal treatment in respect of social and economic rights and recognition of civic, cultural and political rights (...)".

Finally, the EP once again reaffirms that immigration policy should be dealt with at Community, not intergovernmental level, in order to prevent "future distortions" between institutions which prevent the Community from overcoming its "democratic deficit".

 

Source: European Parliament: Resolution on European immigration policy, 15.7.93, PE 174.419.