Update on my Parliamentary work on the Refugee Crisis
Posted: Monday 01 Aug 2016
It has been more than three months since the controversial EU – Turkey agreement came into force, yet thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers remain stuck in Greece and figures for resettlement and relocation are still very low. It is clear that the majority of Member States are failing to implement the necessary measures that can assist in managing the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War. Member States have a moral obligation to take action and react in an organised and compassionate manner by showing solidarity with countries such as Italy and Greece who are receiving large numbers of people in need of international protection. Part of the EU-Turkey agreement aims to offer EU visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, and in May the European Commission announced proposals for EU visa-liberalisation for Turkish citizens. However, key concerns still remain with regards to the 72 conditions that are required in order for a country to qualify for visa liberalisation. It is essential that the EU does not gloss over key areas of fundamental rights concerns in Turkey.
Labour MEPs stand ready to scrutinise all aspects of the Commission's proposal and to ensure that all 72 conditions are fully upheld before any decision is made, as is the case with all visa-liberalisation proposals. European values should not be compromised for the sake of a migration deal with Turkey, which has been fraught with a number of legal obstacles from the very beginning. Crucially, however, even if Turkey were to fulfil these conditions the proposal would only affect the Schengen zone (which would exclude the UK).
Claude Moraes' legislative work promoting long term safer and legal routes to Europe
In April, the Commission also announced legislative proposals to revise the EU's asylum system. It is essential that the EU advances towards a common asylum policy centred on solidarity, which will ensure an organised and compassionate response. The ongoing refugee crisis has also drawn attention to the urgent need for the EU to develop legal avenues to Europe which in turn will promote better managed migration. Claude has been appointed as the S&D rapporteur for the revision of the Blue Card Directive which aims to attract high-skilled non-EU migrants. It is important that we now move the discourse from emergency immigration policies towards more long-term far-sighted polices that can provide better integration of migrants in our societies. Claude Moraes MEP looks forward to working closely with the Commission and the Council to have in place EU legislation which promotes safer and legal routes to Europe.
Meeting with the International Rescue Committee
This month, Claude Moraes met with David Miliband, the CEO of the International Rescue Committee, in Strasbourg to discuss the ongoing importance of the relocation and resettlement of refugees. We discussed the failure of the EU's current resettlement policy and the urgent need for further action in this area. Currently, only 5,677 displaced people in need of international protection have been given refuge in 15 countries since the resettlement scheme started last summer (June 2015). As LIBE Chair, Claude will continue to work to finalise the position of Parliament on the new resettlement proposals which are expected to be adopted by the end of the year. As the refugee crisis continues it is important that policymakers work together with civil society and NGOs to facilitate a compassionate and organised response.
LSE refugee crisis event with Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative for International Migration
This month, Claude hosted an LSE in the European Parliament which brought together a host of LSE alumni as well as representatives from the Commission, key NGOs such as Amnesty International as well as local authorities and MEPs to discuss policy solutions which included both emergency measures and long-term thinking in response to the truly global and urgent challenge of international migration. In addition, Peter Sutherland, the United Nations Special Representative for International Migration delivered a keynote speech. At a time in Europe when the far-right is on the rise and the refugee crisis continues, we urgently need to defend our European values and work towards globalised approach to resolving the refugee crisis.
Posted by: Admin on Monday 01 Aug 2016
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