National governments again fail to provide answers on migration

S&D MEPs are disappointed by the continued failure of national governments to find lasting answers on migration. Speaking following a meeting of EU Heads of State and Government in Brussels on the issue, S&D Group Leader Udo Bullmann said:

“Another European Council and another failure to find a sustainable way to manage migration. The Austrian government continues to push the idea that we can just close our borders and bribe neighbouring countries and the issue will disappear. This is short-sighted and wrong. Although we have seen a dramatic reduction in the numbers of people arriving in Europe, a much higher proportion are drowning in the Mediterranean. We have a moral obligation to stop more meaningless loss of life. We have repeatedly called for more search and rescue operations and to stop criminalising those working to save lives.

“We have serious concerns about plans to delegate our humanitarian responsibilities to countries in North Africa. The proposals from national governments to essentially payoff countries, often with questionable human rights records, to stop migrants arriving will most probably not work. Tying funds designed for development or humanitarian aid, trade and visa policies to stopping migrants, opens them up to possible corruption and undermines the purposes the funds are for. A long-term solution relies on developing real mutually beneficial relationships with African countries – solid partnerships, not short-term fixes to keep the crisis out of sight.

“The European Parliament has adopted proposals for reforming the Common European Asylum System, which would help share responsibility between all member states in a fair and transparent way. National leaders and particularly the Austrian Presidency, need to recognise that a security only approach will not work and will simply store up bigger problems for the future. With the EU elections just seven months away, we are risking to run out of time to find sustainable solutions on migration.”