Value for European Citizens:
As elected members of the EP we carry a responsibility to our constituents whose taxes make up the EU budget. The EU is a community which shares the burden as well as the benefits. And now as we face unprecedented flows of migrants we are asking citizens to foot the bill for securing our borders against illegal movements, And maintaining national security processing all seeking entry into the EU - either seeking asylum or economic advancement 3rd country migrant care - either in Turkey, or elsewhere.
We have been impressed by the plans for the European Asylum Support Office to become a mature EU agency for Asylum. There are clearly benefits from shared expertise and resources which can be called on during emergencies, or to help member states deal with long term migration flows. As we have been informed EASO's work begins when FRONTEX/ Border and Coast Guard, and the national asylum system has done its work. And this workload only shows signs of increasing.
But let us not forget that it is European citizens who will be paying the bill. And so I am committed to calling for resources where they are most effectively used; and at the same time finding ways to reduce the demand for these services.
We must deal with the problem at its roots; to that extent that where we can we must eliminate the push factors.
I have always called for geo-political solutions which allow 3rd country nationals to remain in their home region - thereby avoiding hazardous journeys, being preyed on by smugglers and traffickers. Our resources could be more effectively spent removing some of the push factors; war, unstable government, corruption, etc.
In all our European decisions we must try to separate asylum seekers from economic migrants- two separate categories, not always easily discernible one from the other. Those fleeing their homeland, pushed out in fear of their lives, must be treated humanely and in accordance with the human rights of the Geneva convention and EU asylum legislation. But however valid the search, economic migration is not a life and death struggle, but is one of hopes for improvement in livelihood.
And we must also deal with the pull factors. Economic prosperity will be attractive to all seeking a better life - but we cannot naively offer this to everyone who wishes to make the journey.
We must be discerning about which economic migrants we accept. The Blue Card system was supposed to deliver highly skilled workers to Europe from 3rd countries, but so far most of those granted entry were already in Germany - and the scheme needs a complete revision.
Our benefit systems should not be pulling potential productive 3rd country nationals to the EU where the social security payments are greater than their salary at home.
And we should not use a steady flow of migrants to solve our own demographic problems.
Some European politicians have spoken of "the need to open the doors without being afraid about who comes across our borders." But tragically we have seen that this has allowed terrorists to freely cross borders in the crowd, bringing their deadly attacks on democracy. That's not an EU anyone wants.
We need an EU of strong external borders,
- protecting our national security,
- welcoming genuine asylum seekers or skilled workers,
- firmly returning those who don't qualify or who believe they can live on EU benefits.
We are far from this right now, but, that's an EU worth arguing for, and worth paying for.