Humanitarian visas: “A right to be heard without risking your life”


Juan Fernando López Aguilar

To allow asylum seekers to reach Europe without putting their lives at risk, Parliament is currently considering a proposal for a new EU humanitarian visa system.

The proposal, approved by MEPs on 11 December 2018; calls on the European Commission to table legislation allowing those seeking international protection to apply for a visa at an EU embassy or consulate. 

Learn more about the legislative initiative in our interview with report author Juan Fernando López Aguilar, a Spanish member of the S&D group. 

Can you outline your proposals on establishing a European humanitarian visa?

More than 90% of those who claim asylum in Europe have arrived via irregular means and we have to wonder why. Because they were not given any legal pathway to make it to the EU. Our proposals mean you would have a right to be heard, without risking your life and exposing yourself and your loved ones to the illicit trafficking of human beings.

You would be given a territorially limited permit to enter a certain EU member state to ask for asylum. You could do it in a European consulate or embassy, or at an EU delegation abroad. This would be a solution for those who currently have no other choice than to expose themselves to illicit trafficking. Remember at least 30,000 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean in the last few years.

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