"Council has finally done the right thing but splits between Member States are worrying," says S&D MEPs
S&D MEPs have welcomed the decision of the Council to agree to a relocation mechanism to help 120,000 in need of protection who have arrived in Italy and Greece.
Birgit Sippel, S&D Spokesperson for Justice and Home Affairs, said:
"After two years of bickering, national ministers seem to have come to terms with the seriousness of the situation we face. Yesterday's decision is a first step in tackling the crisis and more importantly will allow 120,000 people the chance to begin rebuilding their lives. However, until we have a permanent mechanism with a compulsory distribution scheme in place we will continue to stumble from one crisis to the next. We must keep the pressure on Member States to agree to this, as well as implementing yesterday's agreement in an efficient and coordinated manner. Ultimately we need to continue revising Dublin and provide safe, legal routes into Europe for refugees."
"Taking a qualified majority vote was a necessary decision but the lack of unanimity between Member States is still worrying. The split reflects a fearfulness that is present across Europe. Orban is militarising the crisis, border checks and even push-backs are returning, while politicians and media, not just in the East but across Europe, are dehumanising refugees with talks of floods and swarms."
"We must fight back. We must be clear with our citizens: We have the capacity to deal with this crisis. We have the necessary resources. We have the strategy to tackle it. The idea our continent is being overwhelmed is simply not true. Jordan, a country of just 4.5 million, has taken in over 620,000 refugees with quiet dignity and compassion; meanwhile European governments have reacted to a fraction of this number with incompetence and panic. We must show that it doesn't have to be this way - we must show we can now implement yesterday's decision in a calm and coordinated manner and finally tackle this crisis."