This evening, MEPs debated an annual report by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) assessing the state of fundamental rights in the EU.

Among the issues addressed, the report highlights violations of the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees calling on member states to refrain from inciting fear and hatred among citizens for political gains.

The report however fails to address the impact of austerity measures on the social rights of European citizens.

In light of these worrying developments, French MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat, questioned whether European governments still see value in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights:

“It has become increasingly challenging to take stock of the situation of fundamental rights inside and outside the EU due to the growing gap between principles and reality.”

“This gap can be seen in the case of the rights of migrants, and in particular migrant children and unaccompanied minors, and what I call the denial of their right to claim asylum and more broadly in the failure to provide them with international protection.”

Vergiat called for the protection of minority groups marginalised by populist discourse, citing the example of Hungary:

“Viktor Orbán and his 'illiberal democracy' seem to have growing adherents. Many citizens in our countries are increasingly stigmatised and see their rights denied in the name of national or religious identities.” 

Meanwhile, GUE/NGL MEP Marina Albiol criticised the Commission’s doublespeak on xenophobia against EU migrants:

“The Commission has taken a decision to mitigate the damage of Brexit on member states, partly because of xenophobic discourse against Poles and immigrants in the UK, while at the same time reducing social security payments to EU citizens living in other EU countries.”

“They say that this is to mitigate the impression that migration from other member state is undermining the sustainability of the welfare state but they are instead giving way to more xenophobia.”

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