the European Commission wants to “abolish the Dublin regulation”, announces its president

The European Commission wants ” abolish “ the regulation says “From Dublin” entrusting the responsibility of an asylum request to the country of first entry of migrants into the EU, declared Wednesday (September 16th) the head of the European executive Ursula von der Leyen before the European Parliament.

“I can announce that we will abolish the Dublin regulation and replace it with a new European system of governance of migration (…). There will be a new strong mechanism of solidarity ”, she said, a week before the Commission’s presentation of a much-awaited reform of migration policy in the EU.

“There will be common structures for asylum and return. And there will be a new strong mechanism of solidarity ”, she added, while the countries which are on the front line of arrival of migrants (Greece, Malta, Italy in particular) complain of having to face a disproportionate burden. The Commission’s reform proposal will still have to be accepted by the states.

This announcement was made after a long speech, his first on the state of the European Union. For several hours, Ursula von der Leyen tried to inject new momentum into a weakened European Union, in particular by the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read also Immigration: understanding the Dublin regulation in 3 questions

Elected narrowly by the European Parliament in July 2019 after her appointment by the member states, von der Leyen relies on a majority made up of the three great families, the European People’s Party (the pro-European right), the Social Democrats and the liberal-centrists of Renew, whose priorities she has taken over.

The first woman at the head of the Commission, she complied with the exercise imposed on all the presidents of the Brussels executive and which allows them to better understand their personality. Before MEPs meeting in plenary session in Brussels, she presented her vision for the future of Europe and her action plan.

  • Call for a “European Health Union”

While member states have dealt in dispersed order with the Covid-19 pandemic, von der Leyen called on MEPs to “European Health Union”. “We need to ensure that our new EU for Health program stands the test of time (…). We will create an agency for advanced biomedical research and development at European level, as it exists in the United States ”, she said.

The pandemic has changed the game in the EU. It reinforced the need for member states to act collectively and accelerate reforms to support their economy in recession thanks to the investments made possible by the massive recovery plan adopted in July.

Read the interview: Ursula von der Leyen: “This solidarity is at the very heart of Europe and this is what will allow it to be reborn”
  • Warning against “vaccine nationalism”

As the search for a vaccine against Covid-19 faces stiff competition globally, the Commission President has warned of a “Vaccine nationalism [qui] puts lives in danger ”:

“Faced with the crisis the world is experiencing, some choose to withdraw into oneself (…). Finding a vaccine is not enough. We must ensure that European citizens and those around the world have access to it (…). None of us will be safe until we are all safe. “

Read also Covid-19: in the United States, scientists inject their own vaccine without prior clinical trial
  • Stepping up the fight against greenhouse gas emissions

In front of MEPs, the one who made the Green Deal a pillar of her mandate, announced that she intended to raise the objective of reducing the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2030, currently set at -40% compared to the 1990 level, at -55%.

This increase, which would have important consequences for the energy, transport or agriculture sectors, “Is too important for some and insufficient for others”, a reconnu Ursula von der Leyen. Corn “Our economy and our industry can cope”, she assured. The objective is part of the larger project to make Europe the first carbon neutral continent by 2050, that is to say capable of balancing greenhouse gas emissions and their absorption.

Read the analysis: Coronavirus puts European Green Deal to the test

With this in mind, the 750 billion euros post-Covid-19 European recovery plan will be 30% financed by green bonds, she said on Wednesday. “We are the global leaders in green finance and the largest issuer of green bonds in the world. We are breaking new ground in developing a strong EU standard for green bonds ”, she said.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Climate: European ambition revised upwards
  • Brexit: the risk of a “no deal” between Brussels and London

The former German minister also warned against the risk of « no deal » in the deal on the post-Brexit relationship that Brussels and London are trying to reach before the end of the year, when the UK, which officially left the EU on January 31, will stop applying European standards. “With each passing day the chances of concluding an agreement on time really weaken., she insisted. We now have very little time left. “

Ursula von der Leyen also reaffirmed that the Brexit agreement which defines the terms of the divorce had been negotiated and ratified by the two entities, and she warned London: this agreement, she warned, “Cannot be modified, neglected or dismissed unilaterally”. “It’s a question of law, trust and good faith”, she added while the government of Boris Johnson, assuming a transgression of international law, submitted to the vote of the House of Commons a bill which aims precisely to free the United Kingdom from certain clauses of the Brexit deal.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Brexit: Johnson holds up part of his camp and the EU

In particular, he plans to revisit the protocol intended to prevent the return of a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. “The EU and the UK have agreed that this is the best and only way to ensure peace on the island of Ireland. And we will never come back to that. This agreement has been ratified by this House and by the House of Commons ”, recalled Mme von der Leyen.

  • Migration: “The whole of Europe must do its part”

A week after the fire in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos, the EU chief executive called on all EU member states to“Intensify their efforts” on the migration issue, adding that the whole of Europe “Must do its part”.

“The images of the Moria camp are a painful reminder that Europe must act in unity (…). If we step up our efforts, we expect all member states to step up their efforts as well. Migration is a European challenge and it is the whole of Europe that must do its part ”, she insisted.

Germany confirmed on Tuesday that it would welcome 1,553 migrants currently in the Greek islands. Since the fire in this unsanitary camp, the largest in Europe, on the night of September 8 to 9, pressure was mounting on the German government to welcome some of the more than 12,000 exiles driven out by the fire and who find themselves homeless.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also “It’s a hell without end”: on the Greek island of Lesbos, the largest refugee camp in Europe has gone up in smoke
  • Turkey warns against any attempt to “intimidate” its neighbors

Finally, the leader warned Turkey against any attempt to« intimidation » of its neighbors in the gas conflict between it and Greece in the eastern Mediterranean:

“Turkey is and always will be an important neighbor. But if we are geographically close, the distance between us seems to keep growing. Yes, Turkey is in a troubled region. And yes, it receives millions of refugees, for the reception of which we pay considerable financial assistance. But none of this justifies attempts to intimidate its neighbors. ”

“Our member states, Cyprus and Greece, can always count on full European solidarity to protect their legitimate rights in matters of sovereignty”, a promis Ursula von der Leyen.

Greece and Turkey are fighting over areas in the eastern Mediterranean potentially rich in natural gas. The tension escalated at the end of August, when they carried out rival military maneuvers. The Turkish exploration vessel at the center of tensions finally returned to the Turkish coast on Sunday, possibly paving the way for an appeasement between the two countries.

Read also Why Greece and Turkey clash in the Eastern Mediterranean

This is’“A step in the right direction”, “Necessary to create the essential space for dialogue”, said the President of the Commission. “De-escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean is in our mutual interest. There is only one way to go: refrain from acting unilaterally and resume talks in good faith, because that is the way to stability and lasting solutions. “

The crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean is on the program of a European summit on September 24 and 25 in Brussels, with the threat of sanctions against Turkey.

  • An “action plan” against racism in the EU

The President of the European Executive also announced on Wednesday that she would present ” Action plan “ against racism and “Hate crimes, whether based on race, religion, gender or sexuality”. “Now is the time to build a truly anti-racist Union – by condemning racism, but also by taking action”, she said.

Among the expected developments, she promised to strengthen “Racial equality laws where loopholes remain”, but also to use the EU budget “To fight discrimination in areas such as employment, housing or health care”. “We will become tougher on the application of legislation in the event of delay in implementation”, warned the German leader.

She also assured that the EU would improve “Education and knowledge about the historical and cultural causes of racism”, and attack “To unconscious prejudices, whether caused by citizens, institutions, or even algorithms”. “In addition, the Commission will appoint its very first anti-racism coordinator in order to give this issue priority attention”, she also announced.

  • For the recognition of the parental rights of LGBT couples

“The Commission will soon come up with a strategy to strengthen LGBTQI rights [personnes lesbiennes, gays, bisexuelles, trans, queers, intersexes] »said Mme von der Leyen, also qualifying the « zones sans LGBTQ » decreed in a number of Polish towns of “Zones without humanity” who “Have no place” in the EU.

“I will advocate for the mutual recognition of family relationships in the EU: if you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in all countries”, she promised.

Read the op-ed: “Homophobic attacks are on the increase in Poland because they are tolerated by the party in power”

The World with AFP

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