"We have a credible plan to resolve the refugee crisis, national governments must now endorse it," say S&D MEPs
The European Parliament today adopted a resolution welcoming President Juncker's proposals for resolving Europe's refugee crisis.
Speaking after the adoption of the resolution, Birgit Sippel S&D spokesperson for the committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said:
"To paraphrase Winston Churchill - this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning of the refugee crisis. Today we have sent a strong message to national governments: Parliament and Commission are united with the European public - we must act now to prevent further loss of life and find a common lasting solution to the refugee crisis. We welcome the bold plans presented by President Juncker yesterday on relocation and resettlement of refugees, particularly the increased numbers involved in the relocation scheme. It is now up to national governments to show that the EU has the ability to tackle the biggest challenges we face.
"We also welcome the proposal for a permanent crisis relocation mechanism which can be triggered in emergency situations such as the one the EU presently faces. This will ensure that in the future we will not repeat the shameful display of the last six months, with national governments bickering while people die in our seas and at our borders. We now have the broad outline of how to resolve the crisis - the replacement of the Dublin regulation, binding relocation numbers and increased funding to ensure refugees can integrate into their new societies. We must fast track each of these measures to prevent any more time being lost.
"We were also pleased by President Juncker's comments on the need for increased legal migration into the European Union. We support the Commission on this and call on them to present new legislation in the area as soon as possible.
"Despite the positive announcements, we still need more work to ensure that refugees can find safe avenues to Europe and are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve when they arrive. We have repeatedly called for member states to make better use of existing legislation to grant humanitarian visas - so refugees are not forced to resort to criminal smugglers and make long and often perilous journeys to reach their final destination. This could also be aided by the creation of humanitarian corridors, making it easier and faster for refugees to reach the country where they wish to apply for asylum. However, these are discussions for the near future - what is essential now is that member states finally show courage and agree to the plans outlined by the Commission."
Note to editors
A delegation of S&D MEPs led by President Gianni Pittella will travel to Hungary on 14 September to meet with refugees, representatives from civil society and to visit an asylum seeker reception centre.