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The ALDE Group in the European Parliament has today received a broad majority within the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) for first Vice-President Sophie in 't Veld's legislative report to harmonise and enhance reception conditions for asylum seekers throughout the European Union. The proposals seek to improve the chances, integration and security conditions for asylum seekers within the EU. All too often, the basic needs of those who have risked life and limb to reach Europe, seeking protection, are not met.
Commenting after the vote this morning Sophie In 't Veld MEP said: "Worldwide, people are fleeing violence and devastating conflicts in increasing numbers. We will only be able to cope with these refugee flows in a way that respects European fundamental values by putting in place one common asylum policy. In recent months, I have worked with all political groups, from the left to the right, on a proposal to better harmonise the quality of reception conditions. Today we show that the European Parliament can agree on sustainable and progressive solutions. "
In 't Veld's proposal includes stronger safeguards to ensure the safety and fundamental rights of all asylum seekers, including those with specific needs and vulnerable groups such as women, children, LGBTI persons and victims of torture. "On one element, we all agreed immediately: children should not be detained under any condition. I am pleased that this Parliament is willing to stand up for better protection of child asylum seekers. Detention is never in the best interests of a child," said In 't Veld.
An important part of the adopted proposal is a demand for language courses from day one, and the right to apply for jobs. In 't Veld: "Newcomers in Europe need support to be able to learn the language immediately so they can start to integrate right away. It is in everyone's interest that they participate as soon as possible in the host society and language is the starting point. "
Note to Editors
Sophie in 't Veld is Rapporteur on the Reception Conditions Directive (recast). She will negotiate with the European Coucil and the European Commission on behalf of Parliament. In May, Parliament will debate and vote on the proposal in plenary. In 2016 the European Commission proposed a reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) that included changing some directives into fully harmonised regulations and for reception conditions the Commissions proposed a recast of the existing directive with some further harmonisation.
The draft report voted today can be found here.