Stockholm programme: more citizens' rights for the next five years

EU countries should work together more closely on the reception of asylum seekers and in fighting against discrimination. Access to justice should be improved and prisoners' rights strengthened. These and other demands were made by MEPs in a resolution on the EU's justice and home affairs programme for the next five years.

The resolution is the European Parliament's way of stating its views on the Stockholm Programme, which sets forth the EU's priorities in the field of justice and home affairs for the next five years.  EU government leaders are set to decide on this programme at their summit of 10-11 December.

Combating discrimination and child abuse

Full legal remedies should be offered to victims of crime, especially human trafficking and gender violence, say MEPs, who want a directive and a European strategy introduced to tackle violence against women and child abuse.  They also highlight the risk of discrimination and racist crime faced by ethnic minorities and call in this connection for legislation on hate crime.

In a compromise negotiated between the EPP and S&D groups, Parliament calls on Member States to guarantee freedom of movement for all EU citizens, including both married couples and those in registered partnerships "and to avoid all kinds of discrimination on any ground, including sexual orientation".

Terrorism and organised crime

Measures to protect the public against terrorism and organised crime should nevertheless allow them to challenge disproportionate or unclear security, say MEPs.  Priority should be given to safeguarding the rights of victims of terrorism and providing financial compensation.

Immigration and asylum: greater burden-sharing

Member States' capacities for receiving asylum-seekers should be evaluated and a system of "compulsory and irrevocable solidarity" set up between states.  Closer co-operation with non-EU countries, notably neighbouring ones is needed.

Migrants must have access to justice, housing, education and healthcare, adds the resolution. It condemns "refoulement" and mass expulsions to countries where human rights are not respected. MEPs want to see legislation against the abuse of asylum procedures.