Portuguese MEP, Inês Zuber, condemned the Council: “The Council's response to the refugee crisis is basically to strengthen expulsion mechanisms. With the increasing number of refugees as a pretext, the European Union is now rejecting anyone who is not an applicant for asylum.

“References have been made to the hotspots which would be centres from which refugees could be expelled from Europe faster. The Council wants to identify refugees and support countries such as Italy and Greece in so-called 'return operations' which basically means expulsion operations.

“Europe has created a self-perpetuating situation by continuously interfering in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We should be turning our resources towards welcoming people, but there is virtually no reference to that in the conclusions. We need to create safe and legal routes into Europe – that would be an action worthy of being called a humanitarian solution.”

Spanish MEP, Marina Albiol Guzmán, slammed the leaders of the institutions responsible: “The President of the Commission, the Commissioner for Immigration and President Tusk should be resigning because they have completely failed to manage the refugee crisis. The European Union has agreed to relocate 165,000 people but they have barely managed to relocate a few hundred.”

“Many people have drowned in the Mediterranean and thousands of people are barely getting by or just surviving in refugee camps, and we should be ashamed of this. This shows is a complete lack of solidarity. It is an atrocity, it is absolutely cruel.

“On the other hand, 3 billion euros have been given to Turkey to do our dirty work; to stop refugees coming to Europe. The funds given to Turkey are three times the amount allocated for the EU to help refugees. This is a systematic attempt to keep refugees out.”

Spanish MEP, Tania González Peñas, raised other issues for the Council and Commission: “This week brings to an end a European semester which has seen harsh blows inflicted on Greece. They have had to do everything they could to try to retrieve some of their sovereignty.

“We have been deliberating on TTIP and on the welfare state and we have not defended human and social rights properly. 

“We have greater and greater inequality which you simply don't address. It is really a Europe of two speeds: there is one in the north, and another one in the south which has fewer and fewer social rights and is poorer every day.

“There is no moral authority for a Commission President who vests greater interest and attention in multinational companies than in the countries of the European Union,” Peñas concluded.

GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings  +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

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