"Without a concrete and common response Europe is at risk" - Pittella and French Interior Minister Cazeneuve discuss refugee crisis
Gianni Pittella, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, along with Vice-President Sylvie Guillaume, and S&D Spokesperson for Civil Liberties and Home Affairs Birgit Sippel, met French Home Affairs minister Bernard Cazeneuve this morning to discuss the ongoing refugee crisis.
Both President Pittella and Minister Cazeneuve reaffirmed the need for a radical and permanent change in the European approach to the refugee issue, which is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis. The meeting was part of a broader strategy of the S&D Group to shape a common approach to the crisis between progressive groups.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Pittella said:
"Solidarity must be binding or it is simply charity. I'm delighted to see the full commitment of Minister Cazeneuve and of the French Authorities to face the migration issue through a holistic and common European approach based on responsibility and solidarity. These must be the two pillars of a binding mechanism for relocation based on fair criteria to be applied across Member States."
"We have also called for the urgent revision of the Dublin regulation and the implementation of a common European asylum and anti-trafficking policy. Europe is at a cross roads. It has to be clear that any further misstep or delay caused by national selfishness in delivering an adequate answer to this humanitarian crisis, will provoke a deep wound not only in our conscience but in the raison d'être of the European Union".
The S&D Spokesperson for Civil Liberties and Home Affairs, Birgit Sippel, added:
"We need solidarity. We need to defend our European values. We need to implement common asylum directives, clear relocation and resettlement rules. We need safe ways for refugees and legal ways for people looking for work. These are difficult times - but we need common answers and we need to defend our values."
The Vice-President, Sylvie Guillaume, stated:
"In our discussion with the minister, we discussed the challenge posed to Europe by the refugee crisis. Solving it will require courage and determination on the part of all progressive forces. The response can only be global and shared."
Note to Editors
Ahead the extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, President Pittella will contact, among others, the Swedish State Secretary for Migration, Lars Westbratt, and the relevant national authorities from Slovakia, Czech Republic and Romania. The S&D leader already had a positive and constructive discussion with the Italian Home Affairs minister, Angelino Alfano.