GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer (Germany) has expressed her utter dismay at the European Council’s backing for so-called “regional disembarkation platforms” in third countries, and “controlled centres” in EU member states, for asylum seekers to the EU.

Australia’s offshore migrant detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island – serving as model to this new policy – have been widely condemned for their appalling human rights abuses. 

This latest announcement is part of an aggressive drive to externalise EU borders through shady deals with repressive regimes that have resulted in migrants being taken into slavery in Libya and thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean.

The Left has called for safe and legal pathways to Europe and for a migration policy built-upon the principle of European solidarity and respect for international law.  

Zimmer condemned today’s announcement as a mockery of human rights: 

“Slavishly following the programme and fear-mongering propaganda of the racist right, EU leaders have trampled on the fundamental rights of the most vulnerable people – those fleeing the devastation of war, terrified for their own lives and the lives of their families. These are the people EU leaders have decided to punish. Europe has looked at some of the most defenceless and at risk people on the planet and told them that their appeal for some help, some small display of humanity, is too much to ask.”

“Sending people back into life-threatening situations in places where the human rights situation is an appalling affront to Europe’s humanitarian responsibilities and an attack on fundamental rights.”

Meanwhile, EU leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to militarisation and war through billions in subsidies for arms companies under the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) and the European Defence Fund.

“More money for arms does not make European citizens safer. A foreign policy based on militarization and on strengthening of EU-NATO cooperation will not bring peace and security.”

“This is a big economic stimulus package for the arms industry while the EU makes cuts worth billions of euros to civilian and social programmes that truly benefit citizens. We need a social Europe that favours diplomacy and conflict prevention, and is at peace with its neighbours. That cannot be achieved through an arms race,” Zimmer concluded.

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