By Loretta Tóth
More than half a hundred members of the European Parliament (MEPs) want the European Commission (EC) to push through an EU law that was drafted 20 years ago but never applied in practice. They argue that the so-called temporary protection directive would be perfectly applicable to crisis situations such as the mass influx of Afghans fleeing Taliban rule.
Already in the summer of 2001, the European Council, in agreement with the EC and the EP, adopted a directive on minimum standards for granting temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on the obligations of the Member States with regard to the reception of these persons. The legislation is intended to help refugees who have fled the wars in Yugoslavia and Kosovo, so that the EU is entitled to grant immediate asylum to people arriving on the territory of the Member States without being trapped in the repressive asylum procedures. According to the Directive, ‘temporary protection’ is an exceptional procedure designed to provide immediate and temporary protection to displaced persons from third countries who are unable to return to their country of origin in the event of a mass influx of such persons.
This is particularly necessary when there is a risk that the asylum system will not be able to cope with this influx and thus will not function efficiently and that those seeking protection will not receive the protection they need.
The main obligation of Member States under the Directive is therefore to issue an immediate residence permit to persons granted temporary protection, while minimising the formalities otherwise necessary for such a procedure, and to assist protected persons in obtaining a work permit, adequate accommodation, medical care and the right of children and minors. to obtain access to the education system under the same conditions as nationals of the Member State concerned. All EU countries except Denmark and Ireland have signed the Directive, which will enter into force following a decision of the European Council by qualified majority on a proposal from the ECJ.
Although the directive has not yet been transposed, 76 MEPs recently wrote to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, pointing out that the EU, as a defender of human rights, cannot ignore what is happening in Afghanistan because “our credibility is at stake”. MEPs from the Left, Liberal, Green and EPP groups say that “the immediate activation of humanitarian corridors is of the utmost importance in this regard” and that the temporary protection directive is “perfectly” applicable to the mass immigration expected due to the situation in Afghanistan.
Although the Directive entered into force in 2001, its potential has never been fully exploited (…), so it is time to put an end to this inaction, and Afghanistan is the perfect opportunity to do so.
– says the letter. The seriousness of the request of MEPs returning from the summer recess is underlined by the fact that Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, mentioned the application of the Temporary Protection Directive to Afghans as one of the possible solutions when he recently said: “This may be the time to finally apply it.”
Source: Magyar Nemzet