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Failing to tackle refugee crisis would be historic failure


03 Feb 2016


Justice & Home Affairs
Regional Policy

Today the European Parliament debated the latest developments in the migration crisis. The EPP Group regrets the failure of EU Member-State governments to follow up on their decisions, taken at EU level, in the past months. Spring is upon us and time is running out to tackle the refugee crisis before boats start crossing the Mediterranean again.

“It is time to act. We have to implement the new Coast Guard Agency; we need to agree on how to finance the fund for Turkey; we should clarify the common principles of our migration policy; and we have to make clear that all those who arrive in Europe must meet the same obligations as Europeans,” said Esteban González Pons MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group.

The EPP Group Spokeswoman on Civil Liberties and Home Affairs, Monika Hohlmeier MEP, referred to the European Commission's Schengen Evaluation Report on Greece, which identified deficiencies in external border management: "Greece must finally wake up and fully cooperate with European border guards: registration, accommodation, the first analysis of the status of migrants, the fight against human traffickers and a quick return policy for irregular migrants. The failure of cooperation leads to a failure of trust between Member States. Without cooperation it is not possible to give effective help in this critical situation."

In January 2016, the number of people crossing the Mediterranean was 13 times more than in January 2015. 368 migrants lost their lives in January 2016 alone. To retain Schengen and free movement we must manage Europe's external borders effectively. The EU cannot accept every migrant, and any opposing positions that now exist within the EU on how to deal with the refugee crisis will need to be reconciled. Failing to do so would be an historic failure.