In a joint meeting at the European Parliament today, the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Committee on Development (DEVE) approved recommendations for the EU External Action – the EU's Foreign & Security Policy Service led by High Representative Federica Mogherini – about its role during the onset of the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe.

The report assessed the EU’s response to the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II and what lessons can be incorporated into policy-making.

GUE/NGL MEP Marina Albiol was critical of the stark omissions in the approved text:

“This report has some positive aspects such as a call for legal access to the EU for refugees and migrants but it avoids any kind of criticism of the role the EU has played until now. Rather, it supports the illegal EU-Turkey agreement by affirming its role in reducing the number of deaths in the Mediterranean – ignoring the fact that more than 5000 people have died there in 2016 alone.”

Albiol also denounced the EU blackmailing third countries to take back refugees in return for money:

“Missing from the report is a strong and unambiguous rejection of the misappropriation of EU development funds for blackmailing of third countries for the purpose of outsourcing EU borders and limiting migration flows.”

“I would have liked to have seen a recognition of EU responsibility for some of the root causes of migration such as its trade and development policies which our group has for long criticised for their promotion of free markets, deregulation and the private sector,” Albiol added. 

GUE/NGL MEP Miguel Urbán reinforced the criticism of EU outsourcing of border controls to third countries with poor human rights records, saying that these not only violate international law but also EU legislation:

“We are extremely concerned that there was no scrutiny of the agreements the EU has signed and of the budgets allocated for the management of this humanitarian crisis in which thousands of people fleeing poverty, hunger and war were affected.”

“Foreign policy should not be used to justify border controls against vulnerable people. These xenophobic policies such as the shameful EU-Turkey agreement and the EU-Afghanistan agreement not only violate international law, the Geneva Conventions and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights – but they are also examples of the shameful path the EU is taking.”

Urbán blamed these EU policies for exacerbating the long-term dire situation faced by refugees and migrants:

“These proposals call explicitly for reinforcing security and to use militarisation as instruments for border control. We denounce in clear terms such proposals which would not only contribute towards growing xenophobia, but more deaths of migrants and to the benefits of the traffickers,” concluded Urbán.  

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