Following the conclusions of an extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels, Left MEPs have reacted with anger to measures to further punish those seeking protection, and have demanded respect for the right to claim asylum and a humane response to the situation at the EU border with Turkey.

Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) condemned that “an increased Frontex and police presence, and further militarization of the external borders, are once again the routine response to this situation. Sealing borders with barbed wire, thermal imaging, and tear gas is not a reaction to a humanitarian crisis, it is a disgrace and an act of violence against those seeking protection.”

“The cynical, ignorant, and self-righteous denial of safe passage, of humanitarian visas, of relocation proposals are to blame for failed EU asylum policy” she said, demanding that EU leaders return to the negotiating table with Parliament and finally set up an asylum system worthy of the name. “In the meantime, the largest possible numbers of people – not just minors – must be relocated and distributed to member states, including to the many willing and welcoming local authorities around the continent. We must work to alleviate a humanitarian catastrophe here, not wage war!”

Kostas Arvanitis (Syriza, Greece) similarly lashed out at the ministers’ devoted adherence to the Commission’s approach up to now.

“The ministers’ meeting offered nothing in terms of what Greece really needs: nothing on the revision of Dublin asylum regulation, nothing on the urgency of decongesting the Greek islands, nothing on disturbing reports of military violence, nothing on access to international protection for the people forced to become pawns on Erdogan’s chessboard. Nothing on the Turkish president himself, who blatantly violates all international agreements and, at the same time, threatens Europe if we do not succumb to his extortion.”

“This is not our Europe! The Europe we know stands firm in solidarity with Greeks and refugees, resolutely in favour of the implementation of International Conventions, active in the protection of fundamental, human rights.”

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