On 1 of February, in a EU plenary discussion with the Swedish Presidency and President von der Leyen, MEPs presented their views on how to deal with the migratory challenges facing Europe. EU leaders look into controlling external borders, cooperation with third countries and returning migrants and asylum-seekers without a right to stay in the EU ‘more efficiently’ to their countries of origin or transit.
President Ursula von der Leyen, who stated that legislative work should continue to concluding the pact by spring 2024, want to ensure faster and dignified returns of migrants to their countries of origin or transit. She did say that improving voluntary solidarity, addressing the root causes of migration from third countries and introducing safe and legal pathways into Europe should also be EU priorities,
Some MEP speakers called for borders to be protected more effectively, including by setting up fences, which some wish to see financed with European funds. Several MEPs referred to the need to increase the rate of people being returned. Fortunately other MEPs also advocated for opening legal pathways into the EU, while referring to the Ukrainian response. They highlighted that a different approach is possible and that migration can also be seen as an opportunity. You can catch up with the debate here.