The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted on Thursday 26 January 2017 on a controversial report on “The need to reform European migration policies” after holding a long and heated debate.

According to the procedure for urgent debates in PACE, Mr Liddell-Grainger from the European Conservatives Group (EC) obtained this report instead of the highly important request to debate on “The functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey”.

The Socialist Group (SOC), the second biggest political group in PACE, proposed several amendments because of three major concerns on this report. We managed to convince the Migration Committee to approve 6 of them, namely, the suggestion that “migrants are potential terrorists” was left out. Unfortunately we lost the other amendments.

In the plenary, we managed to withdraw the proposal of “organising hotspots outside Europe in third countries”. We rephrased it into “organising safer procedures”. In our view this protects the right of liberty of asylum seekers and creates the possibility of establishing legal pathways to Europe.

The Socialist Group (SOC) strongly regrets that paragraph 9.1.1 about the “interpretation of the legal provisions of the 1951 Geneva Convention” remained in the report, since this text is one of the only international binding instruments that protects the basic human rights for migrants.