Proposed EU Migration Commissioner: We must make it eas ier for our population to be replace with illegal migrants

African-migrants-boat-to-Europe

Creating legal, safe routes to the European Union will be his top priority for the next five years, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the commissioner-designate for migration and home affairs, told European parliamentarians Tuesday.

“Legal migration is a fence against illegal migration,” said Mr. Avramopoulos, echoing the view of many of human-rights organizations. The chairpersons of the Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs were expected to decide on his appointment later Tuesday, ahead of a plenary vote on the full European Commission planned for Oct. 22.

If confirmed, Mr. Avramopoulos will be taking over the migration portfolio at a critical time: With conflict mounting in the Middle East and violence and oppression driving people out of parts of Africa to Europe, EU countries are facing a big challenge. Thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe’s shores, and the ones who do face long and clandestine journeys inside the EU in search for asylum and work…

Dimitris Avramopoulos was questioned by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Tuesday.

Dimitris Avramopoulos was questioned by the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Tuesday.

…[I]n his hearing Tuesday, Mr. Avramopoulos was careful to back policies that would please lawmakers, the majority of whom are more supportive of migration to the EU than national governments. He said migrants should be allowed to apply for asylum or work visa abroad, at EU embassies in non-EU countries. This proposal was floated by the outgoing commission earlier this year, but nixed at member-state level. “Where we have embassies we need to have a migration consultant,” he said.

Mr. Avramopoulos repeatedly decried policies he said turned the EU into “Fortress Europe,” a label attached to the bloc by asylum advocates for fortifying its borders and keeping migrants out, often at the cost of their lives. He also condemned his own government’s work in building a 10-km long fence along Greece’s land border with Turkey in the region of Evros. The fence has effectively shut off the border to migrants, but Mr. Avramopoulos questions whether that could be deemed a success given that migrants now enter the country through its sea borders with neighboring Turkey…

Migration policy is a contentious issue in most EU member states, with serious implications for local governments, and individual countries have largely preferred to keep national control over the matter. Still, with the influx of migrants mounting over the last year largely because of the war in Syria and oppression in some African states such as Eritrea, EU governments have been looking to Brussels for solutions, too…

Share