(Applause) The countries on the list of safe countries have to know that, if they are taken off this list because fundamental rights are not ensured in these countries, they are losing their chance to join the European Union. These two things go together. Safe list, yes, but it is time we prepared a more fundamental change in the way we deal with asylum applications, and notably the Dublin system that requires that asylum applications be dealt with by the first country of entry.
We need more Europe in our asylum policy. We need more Union in our refugee policy. A true European refugee and asylum policy requires solidarity to be permanently anchored in our policy approach and our rules. This is why, today, the Commission is also proposing a permanent relocation mechanism, which will allow us to deal with crisis situations more swiftly in the future. That means more swiftly than in the past.
A common refugee and asylum policy requires further approximation of asylum policies after refugee status is granted. Member States need to take a second look at their support, integration and inclusion policies. The Commission is ready to look into how EU funds can support these efforts, and I am strongly in favour of allowing asylum seekers to work and earn their own money whilst their applications are being processed.
(Applause) Labour, work, being in a job, is a matter of dignity. Those who are working are finding again the dignity they had before they left and so we should do everything to change our national legislation in order to allow refugees and migrants to work from day one of their arrival in Europe.
A united refugee and asylum policy also requires stronger joint efforts to secure our external borders. Fortunately, in the European Union we have given up border controls between the Member States of the Schengen area to guarantee free movement of people, a unique symbol of European integration and this Schengen system will not be abolished under the mandate of this Commission.
(Applause) But the other side of the coin to free movement is that we must work together more closely to manage our external borders. This is what our citizens expect. The Commission said it back in May, and I said it during the election campaign, together with Martin, together with Guy and with…
(Suggestions from the Floor) …no, no, I am not pointing at Mrs Keller; I was just thinking of Mr Tsipras. I am not confusing the two!