During the European Parliament's session today on the issue of refugees and migration, GUE/NGL MEPs cautioned against using Europe's neighbours as border guards and challenged the EU to deal with the root causes of migration.

French MEP, Patrick Le Hyaric, commented “Europe can't take a short-term view on the challenges linked to migration and the right to asylum. This may well become a long-term phenomenon that we need to be bolder in dealing with.”

“Refugees are human beings that have to leave where they come from because of poverty, war and the scourge of terrorism. We need to face up to this human emergency.”

“The solution is not to turn our neighbours into border guards. Even though these are countries that are taking up millions of refugees. We need to say yes to compassion and solidarity with Turkish people, but take caution with Erdoğan. We've already had terrible experiences, and have seen terrible effects from Tunisia and Libya which have effectively played the role of border guard”.

“We need to attack the root causes of migration: war, terrorism and poverty. All of this needs greater coordination – wide-reaching diplomatic initiatives and international coordination under the aegis of the United Nations, against ISIS. In addition, the project of the International Conference on Refugees needs to be pushed.”

“This also means that we need to stop robbing and exploiting Africa; stop these free trade agreements which destroy African agriculture and services; and fight against fraud and tax evasion – which reaches around 50 billion euros per year for Africa – an amount that would allow Africans to meet their needs for infrastructure and services.”

Greek MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, also addressed the Parliament on this issue: “The European Union is doing too little too late. The Council needs to implement the decisions it already took on the 26th of February. The lack of leadership on this issue is leading to racist type actions like those carried out by Mr Orbán in Hungary. When are we going to have a single European asylum policy, not 28 different policies, to deal with refugees and migrants?”

This afternoon's session of the European Parliament on the issue of refugees and migration was held in preparation for the European Council meeting to be held on October 15 and 16.

GUE/NGL will be sending a delegation of MEPs to the Western Balkans to observe the situation of refugees there in mid-November.

GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

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