And with that, today's session on migration comes to an end.
- Migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos appears before MEPs
- It follows recent review into EU's migration policies
- MEPs are considering proposed changes to the Dublin asylum rules
Responding to MEPs' questions, migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos says that legal routes should reduce the business available to people smugglers.
He says that work to change the EU's common asylum system should be "stepped up".
The Commission is working with the Estonian EU presidency to find a compromise on the new system, he says.
The relocation system is "becoming a success", he tells the committee - adding that it has "built trust" between EU states.
Another Italian MEP, the left-winger Barbara Spinelli, picks up on human rights concerns about policies of her own government.
People should not face deportation back to Libya, she says, where they may face dangerous conditions including the threat of torture.
Swedish Green Bodil Valero says people are "going to continue to come" regardless of the efficacy of the returns programme.
There should be legal migration routes for those "who aren't highly educated" as well as applications under the existing blue card permit scheme, she adds.
Italian social democrat Elly Schlein says the EU "must have" a permanent means of redistributing asylum seekers and calls the reticence of some member states "shameful".
She calls on the European Commission not to "cave in" to opposition in this area.
Luxembourg Christian democrat Frank Engel says he is "extremely sceptical" about whether states will give up border controls within the Schengen area.
He says opening up legal avenues for migration is "the right thing to do" but notes that the policy is being "lambasted" in Hungary.
Centre-right Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola says passport-free travel within the Schengen area "cannot exist" without greater control over the external borders of the zone.
She asks what the EU Commission will do to improve returns, and asks whether co-operation with the Libyan coastguard will be "intensified".
Portuguese social democrat Carlos Coelho says the EU is still responding with temporary measures and "moving too slowly" to agree permanent changes.
Member states have to be "brought on board", he says, but adds that this won't be easy.
Mr Avramopoulos says that Europe, as an "ageing continent" will need to "open legal pathways" to migration to fill skills shortages.
This economic migration should not be "irregular", he says.
As well as opening legal means of migration, Europe needs a "more effective" way of returning those whose applications to stay are rejected.
This will require "stronger co-operation" from neighbouring countries when it comes to re-admitting those who have been deported from Europe.
Under the EU’s current Dublin regulation, asylum seekers typically have to seek asylum in the first EU state they reach.
Germany suspended the Dublin regulation for Syrian refugees, halting deportations to the countries they arrived in.
In May last year the EU Commission proposed changes that would see a mandatory relocation scheme kick in if a country received a "disproportionate" number of claims.
Countries that refused to accept their calculated share of asylum seekers would have to pay fines of €250,000 per person.
MEPs are yet to take an official position on the suggested changes, which have also been faced with opposition from some national governments.
Migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos tells MEPs that the EU has "come a long way" on migration management but there is more to be done.
Migration will be an issue for "many, many years", he says, adding that the EU must find ways to be "better equipped" for future crises.
Comprehensive reform of the EU's asylum policy is "still missing", he says.
The EU needs to move beyond crisis management towards a "structural solution" to migration problems, he says.Copyright: EBS
- Copyright: Reuters
In response to the crisis, the EU put in place a two-year scheme to redistribute 120,000 asylum seekers from struggling frontline states using binding quotas.
It came in addition to a voluntary scheme to relocate 40,000, which stopped short of fixed quotas.
The measure was approved by majority vote but Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Romania voted against.
A legal challenge to the policy from Hungary and Slovakia was recently rejected by the EU’s top court but binding quotas have relocated less than a quarter of those promised.
Hungary has not accepted a single asylum seeker under the scheme, whilst Slovakia has only relocated 16 people.
Hello and welcome to this meeting of the European Parliament’s home affairs committee in Brussels.
Shortly MEPs will be joined by EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos to discuss migration policy since the autumn of 2015.
It follows a recent review of the various measures put in place since then in response to a massive influx of migrants via the Mediterranean and southeast Europe.
This includes a temporary relocation scheme, a controversial migrant return pact with Turkey, and development aid to a number of African countries.