S&D MEPs: EU must do more to support Greek and Italian authorities in tackling refugee crisis
The tragic images of a boat with 562 people on board capsizing off the coast of Libya highlights the urgent need for increased EU assistance to member states carrying out search and rescue operations. S&D MEPs have called for this and more action to support the Greek and Italian authorities who are still facing the brunt of the work in tackling the refugee crisis. This follows a visit by a European Parliament delegation to refugee camps on the Greek-FYROM border and hotspots in Lesvos last week.
S&D vice-president Peter Niedermüller, head of the delegation to Greece and the S&D Group’s representant in negotiations on the new European Border and Coast Guard, said:
“We have to act fast to stop more needless deaths in the Mediterranean. We are all conscious of the efforts made by all member states with external borders to effect search and rescue operations. However, more needs to be done at a European level to provide greater assistance to search and rescue efforts. This is something that we are fighting for in the negotiations on the European Border and Coast Guard.”
“In Greece last week we also saw the efforts that have been made by the Greek authorities, and indeed the Greek people, to try and deal with what has been unprecedented migratory flows through their country. This would be impressive at any time but is even more so at a time when the country has been suffering under an unprecedented economic downturn. Nevertheless, it is clear that work still needs to be done. Conditions in some refugee camps and sites are worrying. This was especially true of the Idomeni site and we agree that the people there need to be relocated to better quality camps.”
S&D spokesperson for migration issues, Birgit Sippel, who also took part in the delegation added:
"The Greek and Italian authorities need more help and solidarity from their EU partners. Last month the European Parliament adopted a report outlining a holistic approach to migration. This showed that we can find broad political support for a comprehensive approach to solving the refugee crisis. We need to recognise that any response has to be done at an EU level and must involve all member states taking a fair share of responsibility for tackling the crisis.”
“Some political parties provide no answers but instead seek to blame others and seek division in our societies. This achieves nothing. What we need is for all parties to work together to help those risking their lives in flimsy boats in the Mediterranean, those trapped in Idomeni, or those awaiting processing of their claims for international protection in Lesvos. Further delay is not an option.”