13 Jun, 2018

Liberals call for an urgent solution for migration crisis

"If EU leaders fail to agree to reform our common European migration and asylum system during the next Council meeting, we have to bring the Council to Court under article 265 of the Treaty for 'failure to act'," urged ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt during the European Parliament plenary debate on Tuesday.

Since 2014 more than 10.000 men, women and children have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. Verhofstadt criticised the European Council heavily for not taking the necessary action to end the crisis: I don’t point my finger to any individual country, not to Italy, not to Malta, and certainly not to Spain. It is too easy to blame Mr. Muscat or Mr. Salvini, even though I really despise his ideas. It is too easy to give moral lessons from the North to the South, while the Northern countries are hiding themselves behind an anti-European and broken asylum system.”

I am pointing the finger to all of them, all member states, the so-called European Council. The tragedy in the Mediterranean is their fault, their collective responsibility. It is their responsibility that two years after the Commission proposed to reform ‘Dublin’, they still do not have a position. Member states still refuse to give to Europe full responsibility to protect our external borders. Worse, we outsourced this task to Erdogan and now even to criminal gangs terrorizing Libya.”

He urged the Council to take two necessary steps: To agree on a common position on a reform of the Dublin regulation and to create European reception centers in the African transit countries: The only way to avoid another disaster as we are witnessing today, is the setting up of reception centers in the transit countries in Africa. Refugees should have the possibility to apply for asylum and protection there. This way they are not pushed into the hands of human traffickers or Libyan criminal gangs who rape women and steal their money.”

The European Parliament’s rapporteur on the revision of the Dublin-regulation Cecilia Wikström MEP added: “At today’s high level contact group on Dublin I raised the need for member states to unite behind a joint negotiation mandate at the June summit.

The last few days the argument between Italy and Malta illustrate the need for European solutions in the field of migration and the chaos that awaits if we fail. It is no longer acceptable to kick problems down the road; leaders now need to show leadership.

I am very happy about the united support for my work on Dublin from all parliament colleagues. I am also happy we had a frank and constructive discussion with the Commission and the Bulgarian presidency.”

Sophie in ‘t Veld, ALDE Group Vice President also accused European leaders of lacking a moral compass and not being able to come to a permanent solution in the Council. You can read Sophie’s blog post here.

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