Our MEPs to meet with refugees, volunteers and NGOs on Western Balkans route

From Friday to Monday, a delegation of MEPs from the GUE/NGL group will travel through the Western Balkans region visiting transit centres and key 'blockage' points where refugees are stranded, and meet with NGOs and volunteers working on the ground in order to assess the current situation.

Following the path of refugees currently moving through the region, the delegation will visit the border areas between Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Serbia, Bulgaria and Croatia. 

The delegation will visit:
• Idomeni, Greece
• Gevgelija, FYROM
• Tabanovtse, FYROM
• Presevo, Serbia
• Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria
• Sid, Serbia
• Slavonski Brod, Croatia

Swedish MEP, Malin Björk, explained: “Instead of concentrating on how to support countries' reception of refugees, and welcome men, women and children who are seeking protection, the EU is responding with more border guards and hurdles. Today, we need to monitor what is going on at EU borders and make sure that Europe remains a welcoming continent, where respect for fundamental rights is upheld.”

Basque MEP, Josu Juaristi, commented “During EU summits they talk about solidarity, yet the response of the member states is in fact the opposite: more walls, more of the Dublin Regulation, more repression. We are going to the Western Balkans to get first-hand information, and to show not only our solidarity but also our commitment to the rights of refugees seeking a better future in Europe”.

Portuguese MEP, João Ferreira, added “There is an urgent need to re-allocate the EU funds currently intended for border controls, policing, migrant identification and return. These funds should be transferred to support policies that ensure migrants safe and legal border crossings and social inclusion in host countries. Clearly, the EU’s repressive migration policies will not dissuade thousands of migrants from attempting what is often their one and only chance of survival. We urgently need a policy of creating safe and legal routes for migration from third countries into the EU.”

The delegation leaves Brussels on Thursday November 12 in the evening and returns on Monday November 16.

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
On Delegation: Amandine Bach  +32 495 86 04 36  [email protected]
In Brussels: Nikki Sullings  +32 22 83 27 60 / +32 483 03 55 75  [email protected]