The EU’s hurry to strike a deal on migration at any cost during this European Commission’s mandate must not jeopardise fundamental rights.

Today, EU interior ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss the external dimension of migration and the crisis regulation, as part of the Migration and Asylum Pact. The Left in the European Parliament reiterates its position to put people and the individual right to asylum before any political calculations.

With mounting evidence that Tunisia is not a safe place for its own citizens and even less for the people on the move, we call once again on the EU to cease the deal with the authoritarian regime in the country. The EU-Tunisia Memorandum of Understanding has no legal basis and is a blank cheque for an undemocratic government with no human rights clauses attached. Political backsliding on democratic standards and refusal of scrutiny has been amply demonstrated by Tunisia most recently in its denial of entry to a European Parliament delegation seeking to  look into human rights concerns. 

The steps forward taken today by the Council regarding the crisis regulation are paving the way for a de facto abolition of the individual right to asylum in Europe. The Council’s current position would lead to more detention, more death and suffering and is a gift to right-wing hardliners. In welcoming millions of Ukrainians Europe has shown that when there is political will, humane solutions are possible. We urge the EU to apply the same standard in all migration cases. 

Left MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) declared:

“The obsession of the interior ministers with externalising the EU’s responsibility for asylum and migration is shameful. European governments have long moved away from saving people’s lives, solidarity, and the individual right to asylum. Instead, they are now actively contributing to more people dying on their way to Europe, concluding a dodgy deal with Tunisia. It is widely known that externalisation policies force people onto more dangerous routes, often leading to death. 

The proposed New Pact on Migration will not help to solve these issues, instead, it is only fuelling far-right demands and will lead to a de-facto abolition of the right to asylum in Europe. Once again, the Member States are showing how little regard they have for human life.”

Left MEP Kostas Arvanitis (Syriza, Greece) said: 

“We strongly believe that the only humane and realistic solidarity in times of crisis is mandatory relocation and prima facie procedures. This position of the European Parliament would have the most positive impact on the situations we are facing. The Council’s approach of punishing the asylum seekers will only have a negative impact both for those seeking protection and for the member states of first entry and the local communities.”

Photo credits: Camille Martin Juan/SOS Méditerranée


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