Answer – The European Commission's new plan to handle refugees and the crisis in the Mediterranean – E-008818/2015

Addressing the security issues posed by terrorist threats is first and foremost the responsibility of Member States. The Commission is ready to continue supporting the Member States in this fight. Commitment to fight terrorism is duly reflected in the European Agenda on Security(1), the European Agenda on Migration(2) and the EU Action Plan against Migrant Smuggling(3), as well as the recent a package of measures on the control of firearms.

The topics of terrorism and what the EU is doing to address the refugee crisis should not be confused. The overwhelming majority of refugees are fleeing just this same type of threat. The Common European Asylum System has the necessary security measures built into it. Thus, the relocation instruments foresee that national governments retain the possibility to refuse to relocate any individual they believe to be a security risk.

The Commission is not aware that the relocation schemes constitute a relevant ‘pull factor’. In fact, the stronger the hotspot and relocation system is, the lower the possibility of irregular movements and exploitation of the migrant flows by criminals. In order to further reduce irregular migration, as part of its development cooperation, the Commission has set up an Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and is continuing its close cooperation with third countries to address the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement. An Action Plan on Return(4) and a Return Handbook have also been adopted.

(1) COM(2015)0185 final.
(2) COM(2015)0240 final.
(3) COM(2015)0285 final.
(4) COM(2015)0453 final.