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Group president reacts to failed CETA talks & refugees deal at Council summit


Group president reacts to failed CETA talks & refugees deal at Council summit

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer has criticised the European Commission and Council for its secret negotiations and backroom deals following the failed talks on CETA:

Commenting on the temporary collapse of the negotiations, the German MEP said:

“The Commission and Council have to accept whether they’ll want to continue backroom negotiations when it comes to trade agreements or if they’ll start taking on board the serious concerns and criticisms of our citizens in future.”

Zimmer urges the Commission and Council to rethink its approach on trade in order to work towards and better improve the protection of social, ecological and democratic standards across the Union:

“By ignoring democracy, the European Commission is further undermining our citizens’ trust in their institutions at a time when it is most needed,” said Zimmer.

She also criticised the Council meeting in Brussels for showing a lack of EU solidarity over common migration policies.

On the process to relocate refugees and agreements with third countries in stopping people from crossing the Mediterranean, the German MEP said:

“The EU needs to fulfil its promise to deliver the technical and financial resources needed for Italy and Greece and to have refugees relocated fairly to other member states.”

“That is clearly not happening. Greece, in particular, is already at breaking point after years of austerity and it is simply unacceptable for them to shoulder the burden,” she added.

“When the Council discusses migration issues, they seem to forget that member states have a duty to uphold their responsibilities for our common values and strong solidarity as a Union. Instead, governments consider ‘flexible’ solidarity whereby certain member states are allowed to shirk their duties and obligations.”

“But these fundamental challenges for migration can only be adequately overcome by true solidarity.”

“The EU has to increase the pressure on member states that refuse to cooperate. They must also fulfil their commitments and participate in a fair relocation of refugees.” argued Zimmer.

She also had strong words for the Commission and member states in pursuing agreements with third countries in Africa and the Middle East to deal with refugees:

“Member states are pushing for agreements and partnerships with third countries modelled on the dirty EU-Turkey deal. This deal is totally inappropriate if the EU wants to respect its own values and rules like human rights. Furthermore, this is the EU outsourcing its own responsibilities to weaker and poorer countries,” Zimmer said.

Finally on Syria, Zimmer has called on actors from all sides of the conflict to stop the fighting immediately:

“The EU has to call for an immediate ceasefire. This indiscriminate and barbaric bombardment on Aleppo has to be stopped.”

“We call on all parties involved to look for diplomatic and political solutions and to stop this slaughtering. People there don’t need any more bombs. What they need is humanitarian aid and for their corridors to be reopened - and they need them now,” concluded the GUE/NGL President.

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