According to the UNHCR more people than ever, 65.3 million, have had to seek refuge from war, conflicts and persecution. About 40 million of these are internally displaced in their countries of origin, whilst over 21 million have sought other countries to receive humanitarian protection and chances of a new beginning in life. Unfortunately there are no signs that the geopolitical turmoil in our world is going to subside in the foreseeable future.
In this context, it’s more important than ever to create a common, humane asylum policy for the EU where all member states assume their fair share of the responsibility. During the crisis in 2015, six of the 28 EU Member States (Sweden, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Italy and France) received over 80 percent of the 1.2 million arriving asylum seekers, whilst for example Estonia received 225 individuals, Croatia 140 individuals, and Slovenia 260 individuals.
The refugee crisis of 2015, where over one million asylum seekers travelled to the EU in a short period of time, clearly showed the dramatic consequences of not having a common asylum policy. Several wars and humanitarian disasters would change the lives of people in the EU’s neighbourhood. Neither Sweden, nor the EU, have the ability to help all the refugees in the world, but we have to shoulder our share of the responsibility and contribute to helping as many as possible who are in need.
The EU also has to support global processes within the UN-system, such as for example the work to establish global compacts on migration, contribute to the UNHCR and other organisations that support refugees in the areas close to conflict zones. Above all it is about time that we create our own functioning asylum system within the EU.
In my role as the lead negotiator in the European Parliament for the reforms of the Dublin regulation, I have been responsible for assembling a broad majority for major reforms of this cornerstone of European asylum law. The Dublin regulation determines which member state should be responsible to examine the applications for asylum of a particular asylum seeker.
Both Sweden and the EU are humanitarian superpowers; something we can be proud of. Together in the EU we should be able to take solidarity with vulnerable people to the next level, at the same as we share our responsibilities fairly between the member states.