The unprecedented influx of migrants to the European Union shows that effective functioning of the Schengen-agreement and the Member States’ immigration and integration systems are not made for rainy days. The protection of the external borders in order to reduce the number of incoming migrants and to end human trafficking is essential and should be an absolute priority for the EU institutions. ALFA and the ECR Group believe that a coordinated immigration system which respects sovereignty of individual Member States will in the long run increase real and meaningful solidarity and allow a sustainable immigration into the EU.

Todays’ migration crisis in Europe is a result of a collective catastrophic failure to respond to the urgent need for assistance and protection in the Middle East. 

Germany has, since the beginning of last year, received in total terms most of the asylum seekers within the EU. This is actually a surprise given the fact that Germany has no external EU-borders and according to the Schengen acquits and the Dublin Regulation, the Schengen border must be protected and asylum applications must be made in the EU country in which a protection seeker enters first.  

Much more of a surprise is the fact that the German proponents of the current “welcoming culture” impose it to the rest of Europe. Whilst the federal government of Germany initially still counts on the support of Austria and Sweden with its policies, the tone has clearly changed, and the vast majority of the governments and citizens are not in favour of receiving unlimited immigration anymore, whether they are refugees or economic migrants. 

In particular the Central and Eastern European Countries, as well as others, still ask for the preservation of public order and sovereignty as well as for the legitimate processing of asylum applications. Proponents of “We can do it” by Angela Merkel realized that desperate appeals bear little fruit in terms of a constructed European solidarity.

As a large member of the EU, Germany seems to forget that there are other views besides the German one, which differ widely. This lack of understanding has become clear, among other examples, in the violent reactions of co-guests to statements by foreign politicians on German television. 

Most EU member States don’t want to hear anything about a sustainable distribution model until the influx of migrants can be effectively controlled. However, this doesn’t mean that people have become heartless in many parts of Europe. Rather, they have kept their common sense. Addressing the crisis locally with protection and assistance in the Middle East is much more effective and would break the business model of human traffickers and deter further asylums seekers from making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.

But the truth is that most EU member States don’t want to hear anything about a sustainable distribution model until the influx of migrants can be effectively controlled. However, this doesn’t mean that people have become heartless in many parts of Europe. Rather, they have kept their common sense. Addressing the crisis locally with protection and assistance in the Middle East is much more effective and would break the business model of human traffickers and deter further asylums seekers from making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. 

Finally, we have to realise that it’s not just about providing protection seekers a roof and food, it’s about getting them fully integrated in society, introduce them to our values and rules without forgetting the internal security. Long-term policy must take integration into account, and be precise with these issues before they open borders in an uncontrolled way for newcomers. 

The EU-Turkey agreement reached in March 2016 will only be helpful in the short-term. The background of this deal was the attempt to regain control in the completely disordered process of the recording of movements of refugees by EU member states. But we should not fool ourselves, as this European solution is nothing more than window-dressing. Even if all adopted measures are in practice implemented, not much would be gained. Furthermore, the price we pay for it is far too high. Not only would the 6bn of Euros provided to Turkey be much better spent with partners such as UNHCR, but also the visa-free regime will seriously compromise European security. Moreover, we believe that Turkey is progressively moving towards Islamization, which makes the EU membership for Turkey unthinkable in the foreseeable future.

Since the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement we haven’t heard much about it. The Commission should closely monitor the implementation of the Deal, and carry out a thorough assessment of its effectiveness and implementation at regular intervals. Furthermore we should be able to fully evaluate the way pledged European funds are being spent. 

In other words: the EU is faced with an existential problem, which is also a massive challenge. Humanitarian help for people in need, without forgetting internal security, must be provided and resources should be made available to tackle the crisis, But still, the EU needs a real master plan with sustainable solutions. 

The confidence in the Schengen area can only be achieved as a consequence of effective external border control; we cannot rely solely on other countries like Turkey to do our job. It is clear to us that we need a stronger border management, including a swift adoption of an effective FRONTEX Border Agency, Smart Borders package, and the reinforcement of checks in relevant databases at external borders. ALFA asks for a better exchange of information and interconnectivity between the already existing databases in the EU.

ALFA calls for an immediate change of course, which provides an effective reduction of migratory flows and to maintain constitutional order and the applicable rules and regulations while maintaining the obligation to protect the refugees from violence and prosecution. The EU should look at the best practice from third countries in the management of migration flows, asylum shopping, readmission, returns, border returns and the resettlement of refugees. The EU should also reduce pull factors such as excessive facilities or economic incentives, which are often deliberately exploited by economic migrants. 

To successfully integrate the different newcomers should be the ultimate goal of the European Union. A successful integration is possible if the quantity of migrants doesn’t surpass the capacity of the countries. If the different regions are not able to absorb the influx of migrants they get, they won’t be able to integrate them successfully, and the protection seekers will create ghettos, which we know from the outskirts of Paris and which eventually radicalize. For that, the different regions should be asked how many resources they actually have and how many protection seekers they can actually absorb and are willing to integrate.  

In other words: the EU is faced with an existential problem, which is also a massive challenge. Humanitarian help for people in need, without forgetting internal security, must be provided and resources should be made available to tackle the crisis, But still, the EU needs a real master plan with sustainable solutions. One keystone would be a legal system of coordinated asylum- and refugee- system. But only coordinated, not equal in all details, respecting the sovereignty of member states.