EU vote on humanitarian visa
Update 01 April 2019:
The EU Commission published its reaction to the request of the European Parliament. The Commission refers to the efforts to develop resettlement procedures, in which humanitarian reasons are also taken into account. Moreover, it would not be possible to apply directly for protection in the representations abroad outside the EU Member States within the framework of the Common European Asylum System.
You can read the full answer in the EU Commission's follow-up. An overview of all relevant documents can be found in the procedure file humanitarian visas.
Update 11th December 2018:
The motion was backed by 429 MEPs! (194 voted against and 41 abstained)
Today, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to table a legislative proposal introducing humanitarian visas by 31 March 2019. Such a visa would facilitate legal access to the issuing EU Member State for the purpose of applying for international protection.
This is a first step towards creating legal pathways for those seeking protection and ending the deaths at the EU's external borders. A very small step, but a positive sign.
More detailed information can be found in the press release of the European Parliament.