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On 4 December, the Grand Committee gave its statement on Commission's proposal for development of EU's migration and asylum policy (new Pact on Migration and Asylum). The Committee handled the issue based on a government report (E 125/2020 vp) and committee statements from the Foreign Affairs Committee (UaVL 8/2020) and the Administration Committee (HaVL 25/2020). The Parliament will decide on Commission's legislative proposals separately at a later stage.
The Grand Committee agrees with the Finnish Government position while emphasising some viewpoints in its statement. The Committee adopted the statement after voting. Two dissensions are appended to the committee statement.
The Grand Committee supports the Commission's comprehensive approach to European migration and considers it important that migration and asylum policies are developed at EU level. The Committee expects Finland to be active in the negotiations and seek solutions for a resilient and balanced common system.
The Grand Committee supports Commission's goal of putting in place a framework for management of migration in a humane way that is consistent with European values. The Committee emphasises that the requirements of international law and human rights must be respected and upheld in all activities. Together with the Foreign Affairs Committee, the Grand Committee agrees with the goal of ensuring that humanitarian actors can operate in land and sea and preventing the criminalisation of humanitarian activities.
In the Commission's proposal, the Member States will be bound to act responsibly and in solidarity with one another. Each Member State must contribute in solidarity in times of stress, help to stabilise the overall system, support Member States under pressure and ensure that EU fulfils its humanitarian obligations. The Commission proposes a system of flexible contributions from the Member States which could, for instance, relocate asylum seekers from the country of first entry or take over responsibility for returning individuals with no right to stay.
The Grand Committee sees that the asylum system and division of responsibilities in the EU area must be just, resilient and effective in a way that all Member States can carry out their duties in a normal circumstance. Moreover, the Grand Committee together with the Administration Committee considers it important for Finland, located at EU's outer border, to have a common mechanism for solidarity if a Member State comes under pressure. According to the Grand Committee, the proposal requires further clarification on solidarity to determine the efficacy of the mechanism as well as its implications for Finland.
The Grand Committee agrees with the Finnish Government that it is important for Member States to build equal and resilient partnerships with third countries. These partnerships would help address shared challenges such as migrant smuggling, will help develop legal pathways and effective implementation of readmission agreements.