The S&D Group is deeply concerned for the thousands of refugees on the Turkish-EU border and calls on the EU leaders to act responsibly to ensure that EU law and fundamental rights are fully respected.
The EU must come in support of Greece and Bulgaria, while at the same time reminding them of their obligations. S&Ds call on the EU presidents and Interior Ministers and Foreign Ministers meeting this week to reaffirm that the EU is fully committed to our international obligations and to put sustainable solutions on the table that are based on solidarity and a fair-sharing of responsibility.
The S&D Group is pushing for MEPs to debate the situation at the border in plenary next week.
Iratxe Garcia, S&D Group president said:
“Bordering member states such as Greece and Bulgaria have been left alone for years. This crisis does not come out of the blue, it was foreseeable, but the EU Council has been blocking long-term solutions for too long. Now we must act urgently and make up for the delinquency and lack of leadership of the EU in the region.
“At the Turkish border, people’s safety and dignity must come first. While Turkey has its share of responsibility, we as the European Union must live up to our values and make sure that any measure complies with EU and international law. This is not just our moral duty, but also a legal obligation. People who have already suffered for years are still fleeing war zones, and they have the right to seek asylum and to be treated with dignity.”
Kati Piri, the S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs, said:
“Erdoğan is playing a dangerous game by using vulnerable people’s lives as pawns to put pressure on the EU. However, Turkey hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees and we urge the EU to continue the financial assistance. In addition, the Syrian-Russian Alliance is causing an inferno in Idlib, forcing 900,000 people to flee to the Turkish border.
“Despite the Turkish president’s blackmail, we have a duty to respond responsibly and lead by example. As the UNHCR said yesterday, the measures taken by the Greek government to suspend asylum applications were the result of a unilateral decision and violated the EU’s international commitments. When EU Ministers meet this week, I hope they not only think about resolving the immediate crisis, but also reflect on the root causes including ongoing fighting and unrest in Syria.”