GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer has expressed dismay at the lack of solidarity on migration policy, criticising EU deals with third countries, and the narrow-minded approach of some Eastern European leaders following an EU summit in Brussels.

“Angela Merkel considers EU cooperation with countries like Turkey, Libya and Niger a great success. Meanwhile, Erdogan continues turning Turkey into an authoritarian regime, we’re financing militias in Libya that enslave, torture and murder refugees, and the Niger military profits from the trafficking and forced prostitution of refugees. Is such betrayal of human rights now what we call ‘success’?”

“European solidarity does not only mean sharing the benefits of the EU. Problems must also be solved together. Therefore, we need a fair relocation of refugees and migrants. The EU must clearly demonstrate to some Eastern European governments that racism cannot be a justification for EU policies. Safe and legal ways to the EU for refugees and migrants, better integration policies, a peaceful foreign policy and a fair trade policy with Africa are the only solutions. The EU must not criminalize refugees but fight the root causes of migration.”

On the news of an agreement that sufficient progress has been made in the current phase of Brexit negotiations, Zimmer says both sides must work to protect citizens, especially those in the North of Ireland.

“Now the British government has to show that it is serious about its promises and the EU has to assume its responsibility. The agreement needs to be spelled out and cast into legal texts in order to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and the British in the EU. The rights of Irish citizens, especially in the north of the island, cannot be impacted. The Good Friday Agreement must be preserved in all its parts and any hardening of the border between the North and the South has to be prevented. That is what the left will push for in the European Parliament.”

Calling the military pact that emerged from the Summit “a stimulus package for European arms and security corporations,” Zimmer regretted that “billions of euros of taxpayers' money will go to research new weapons which will then be bought back with billions from the industry.”

“Weapons lobbyists dominate the EU decision-making process in this area, with little democratic control. We strongly reject the militarization of the EU. Only diplomacy and conflict prevention leads to sustainable peace and security. Those billions of Euros could be invested in social security, decent work and education in order to eradicate precarious living conditions, poverty and unemployment.”

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