Our civil liberties, justice and home affairs work

S&D MEPs are the driving force for a just, fair, and humanitarian approach in the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee.  From addressing the issue of migration to dealing with regular attacks on democracy and the rule of law in Europe, our approach is always based on solidarity and co-operation amongst member states as well as protecting the rights and freedoms of all of our citizens. Within our own borders, we must ensure that the rights of minority groups such as the Roma and LGTBI communities are upheld and strengthened.

Our achievements

Migration and the refugee crisis have been at the top of the agenda for some time, and the European Union has been unable to come up with a long-term plan. Our Group has continuously fought for humanitarian solutions. We advocated for an integrated approach to migration based on solidarity and responsibility-sharing, as well as respect for fundamental rights, a balanced approach towards third countries, and generally a more positive vision of what migration can offer.

We are deeply committed to the defence of minorities and have consistently fought against anti-semitism. We will continue our fight for respect for the Roma people, and for the rights and dignity of LGBTI people.

Our priorities

Rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights

All people should be treated equally under the law and should have equal access to effective judicial remedies when needed. The S&D Group fights to protect this fundamental right. Increasingly, we are seeing the rule of law, fundamental rights and EU values under attack in different EU countries. This is why the S&D Group supports the creation of a strong, binding mechanism to monitor issues of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights objectively as they arise, to be applied in an equal, non-political way, using clear evidence.

The rise in attacks on the freedom of expression and the press in Europe is extremely alarming and is symptomatic of an anti-democratic shift that our political systems and societies are undergoing. We Socialists and Democrats will not let this happen. We consider any threat against a free press a threat to democracy.

The Group stood up and called for the Commission to start formal procedures against attacks on democracy from the current Hungarian Government, and supports a similar approach to the current Polish Government. 

Migration

The S&D Group supports a holistic, sustainable approach to migration, viewing migration not as a threat but as a natural, positive phenomenon.

The Group has been in the vanguard of the groups in Parliament. We are calling for an overhaul of European asylum rules to ensure greater harmonisation of asylum procedures, create genuine solidarity and evenly share responsibility between member states, while respecting and focusing more on the fundamental rights of those arriving in Europe by land and sea. Ultimately, this should result in a sustainable, unified, effective Common European Asylum System. This approach was encapsulated in the Parliament’s Report on a Holistic Approach to Migration. In that report, the S&Ds ensured support for a centralised Union system for allocating responsibility fairly among the Member States and for all those arriving in the EU seeking international protection – treating each asylum seeker as someone seeking asylum in the EU, and not in an individual member state.

Through the proposed revision of the rules governing the Common European Asylum System, the S&D Group successfully ensured that EU ground rules on asylum will remain as they always have been – based on the Geneva Convention on Refugees and on the individual right to asylum. A thread of humane treatment and respect for fundamental rights runs through the positions adopted by the Parliament – strongly reflecting the S&D Group's positions – on the various proposals for reform of the Common European Asylum System. This means ensuring no automatic detention of asylum seekers merely on the grounds that they are seeking protection (revision of the Reception Conditions Directive); objecting to the coercive fingerprinting of children (revision of EURODAC); ensuring a full set of enforceable rights for those granted protection in the EU (proposed Qualifications Regulation); and taking full account of the preferences of those seeking protection when they are being relocated between member states (revision of the Dublin Regulation).

Our Group has sought to enhance legal migration channels into the EU, despite resistance from member states. We also acknowledge that we must work closely with the countries migrants come from and with transit countries to tackle the root causes of migration, which force people to flee in the first place, and to effectively address current migratory flows.

In addition to that, the S&D Group has been very clear on the need for a European approach on resettlement of those in need of protection and for the introduction of systematic, mandatory, large-scale resettlement programmes as well as the establishment of humanitarian visas at European level in case of a significant stream of refugees. This would help countries in the region that host millions of refugees, and would simultaneously create safe, legal routes for the most vulnerable refugees. The S&D Group position on these issues has been clear and has been supported. 

A fair migration system is only the first step – we also need to work on better integrating refugees and migrants into European society. It is essential that they can work and contribute to their new societies on equal terms with those already there. It that regard, the S&D Group has pushed for greater emphasis on integration as part and parcel of a comprehensive reform to EU asylum and migration policy.

Borders

The S&D Group rejects the building of walls and fences in and around the EU, and supports a pragmatic, sustainable approach to migration and border management. The free movement of people throughout the Schengen Area constitutes one of the European Union’s greatest achievements. The Group has long advocated a more coordinated approach to managing the EU’s external borders to ensure that the right to free movement is not undermined by short-sighted national policies aimed at reintroducing internal border control.

In that vein, over the course of the European Parliament’s last legislature, the S&D Group has supported, but re-modelled, proposals to expand the EU’s Borders Agency, defining a common approach to European Integrated Border Management for the first time. On behalf of the EU, the Agency will now have the capacity to provide meaningful support to member states on the ground, such as experts, border guards and equipment. In turn, member states must ensure that external borders are managed properly, while providing appropriate mechanisms for those seeking international protection in the EU.

For the S&D Group, saving lives must be the first priority, and so we have fought for and expect the Borders Agency to play a greater, more pro-active role in search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean Sea.

Likewise, we have helped establish an entry-exit system at EU level to record the entry and exit of third-country nationals into and out of the Schengen area. This should help track those persons not entitled to enter the Schengen Area while at the same time facilitating the crossing of external borders for legitimate travellers.

Data protection and privacy

Protection of privacy and personal data form the core of safeguarding who you are as an individual; how you choose to live your life, who you spend your time with, your family relations and friends, what you like and consume. They also form the core of your right and ability to make autonomous, uninfluenced choices - whether political, economic, or social. Safeguarding privacy and protection of personal data are also absolute necessities for a functioning, healthy democracy.

In short, you as an individual must be able to decide whether or not you want to share your personal data, for what purpose, who has access to it, for how long and what can be done with it. You must also be able to access, modify or delete some of this information, and more.

Our Group has been at the forefront of pushing for a progressive, protective legal framework on data protection, totally overhauling the EU data protection framework. We heavily influenced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and ensured the creation of a common data protection framework for the EU law enforcement sector for the first time in EU history.

However, our work is far from done. Online, and on social media in particular, where vast amounts of personal data are shared and transferred around the globe instantaneously, it is increasingly difficult for people to control their privacy. Everything you do online, whether through your personal computer, or your mobile devices - such as your smartphone, tablet, connected appliances, smart meters and even your car - leaves an electronic print, a mark that can be stored, recorded, aggregated and used for big data analysis and machine learning, producing ever more accurate profiles and predictions about you. This is where privacy protection comes in.

Our Group has been the leading voice in the fight for your privacy rights. It is our clear position that you should be in control of who can track you and your movements both on- and offline, whether it is through browser cookies or physically tracking the location of your phone or other mobile devices. We believe that individuals should be in control of who can access their communications and for what purpose, know with whom they are communicating, how often and for how long, regardless of whether it is a phone call, text message or through social media. The S&D Group is driving a progressive ePrivacy reform, where we hope to give people back control over their privacy online, while also showing businesses the benefits of offering privacy-friendly services to drive innovation and market share.

Fight against discrimination

For the S&D Group, discrimination has no place in our society. We stand for the inclusion of all. We fight relentlessly through our parliamentary work to ensure that combatting discrimination is a central part of EU policies.

People in Europe continue to face discrimination because of who they love, the body they are born with and their personal sense of their gender. The Group championed a resolution on the fundamental rights of intersex people and works for a strong and comprehensive LGBTI roadmap to cover all policy areas across society.

Socialists and Democrats fight against all types of racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and work hard to combat hate speech wherever it is found. The S&D Group defends the rights of the Roma across the EU.

MEPs involved

LÓPEZ AGUILAR Juan Fernando

LÓPEZ AGUILAR Juan Fernando

Chair
Spain
BARTOLO Pietro

BARTOLO Pietro

Vice-chair
Italy
SIPPEL Birgit

SIPPEL Birgit

Coordinator
Germany
GARCÍA PÉREZ Iratxe

GARCÍA PÉREZ Iratxe

Member
Spain
BARLEY Katarina

BARLEY Katarina

Member
Germany
CHINNICI Caterina

CHINNICI Caterina

Member
Italy
CIUHODARU Tudor

CIUHODARU Tudor

Member
Romania
GUILLAUME Sylvie

GUILLAUME Sylvie

Member
France
INCIR Evin

INCIR Evin

Member
Sweden
KALJURAND Marina

KALJURAND Marina

Member
Estonia

See our latest actions

Press release

Attacks on media freedom by conservative governments are weakening democracy in the EU

Press release

Inclusion with equal opportunities benefits society as a whole

Audiovisual

S&Ds put consumer interests first in collective redress vote

Position papers

Position paper

Fostering media diversity and press freedom

Position paper

S&D Group Position Paper for a renewed Africa-EU Partnership

Position paper

S&D position paper on migration & asylum

Position paper

Progressive European Social Policy: Returning the focus to the people

Position paper

Towards a Digital Union - Our Progressive Vision

Position paper

Sustainable development agenda post-2015

Position paper

Investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms in ongoing trade negotiations (ISDS)

Position paper

Let's unblock the "maternity leave" directive! Or why this is not an old-fashioned text

Position paper

DEVE (Development) policy paper for development and humanitarian aid priorities 2014-2019

Position paper

The rise of right wing extremism and populism in Europe

Position paper

Free movement must be more fair, not less free: our alternative, progressive vision

Position paper

10 demands to fight social dumping and protect all workers

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