Ahead of a February 9 Summit of EU leaders at which the issue of migration policy will top the agenda amid far-right pressure to scale up failed fortress Europe, Left MEPs demand measures that allow people seeking safety in Europe to come here in dignity.

We strongly oppose right-wing scaremongering and calls to build more walls and fences at EU borders. In tomorrow’s European Parliament debate on the issue, The Left will insist on safe and legal ways for people on the move to come to the EU, in accordance with international law, the right to asylum, and our proposals for a humane EU migration policy.

The number of border walls and fences worldwide has increased dramatically in recent decades. This also holds for the EU/Schengen area, which is currently surrounded or crisscrossed by 19 border or separation fences stretching for more than 2,000 km. Between 2014 and 2022, the aggregate length of border fences at the EU’s external borders and within the EU/Schengen area grew from 315 km to 2,048 km.

Meanwhile, the EU and many member states consistently fail to address the issue of illegal and violent pushbacks. The European Parliament stressed that the protection of EU external borders must comply with relevant international and EU law, including the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

MEP Malin Björk (Vänsterpartiet, Sweden) declared:

“The Swedish presidency is eager to conclude all the ongoing legal proposals the European migration pact. But putting in place a bad refugee policy is worse than reaching no deal at all. If the member states cannot agree on a humane and rights-based refugee policy, I prefer a system that allows member states to have a reception system with much higher standards than those that are on the EU negotiators’ table right now.”

MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) added:

“We are not in a migration “crisis”, but in a crisis of solidarity between member states and in a crisis of upholding the right to asylum in the EU. What we need is a humane migration and asylum policy that puts the concerns of the people seeking protection in the European Union back at the centre. As an East German, I can only say: if we, as the EU, start to build walls, then we are destroying Europe’s very founding idea. The approach of interior ministers in prioritising more returns bypasses the problem. Once the fog is gone, it turns out that many people who have an issued return decision come from countries that either no longer take back those who are to be deported or cannot be deported there for very good reasons, such as Afghanistan or Iran. Another dimension heavily discussed right now is the externalisation of migration policies, which I understand is one of the key issues the Swedish presidency will focus on. To us, further externalising EU migration policies is an absolute red line, it is just another instrument to keep people from reaching safety in the EU, but already far away from our external borders.”

You can follow tomorrow’s debate here from 15.00 CET.

Related Meps