New border and coast guard system won’t rescue refugees, it will close borders
In reponse to the new European Border and Coast Guard package released today by the European Commission, GUE/NGL MEPs are angered by the lack of measures to assist refugees.
Despite its title, the new border and coast guard system does not include search and rescue of refugees within its aims and would effectively give far-reaching new powers to Frontex.
Swedish MEP, Malin Björk, criticised the package: "It is absolutely unacceptable that when the refugee crisis is reaching its peak, we are closing our borders."
Björk described the problems within the new system: "[In this package] Frontex is a superpower with huge competences across many different areas and the EU is basically allowing member states to work with third countries to stop people who are trying to flee wars. There is no legal way for refugees to get into the EU. There is basically just a description of refugees as a possible terrorism risk. How does that fit in with our international commitment to protecting people who are running from war? We should be living up to our responsibilities."
"What we need is an agreement on how we are going to take in refugees," Björk concluded.
Greek MEP, Kostas Chrysogonos, commented: "When we speak about sea borders it is quite clear that the most important thing is to protect human lives."
"We must be extremely careful to ensure that the European border and coast guard bodies and various other agencies involved will abide by Article 21 of the Treaty regarding respect for national authorities. This is especially relevant when there are issues of cooperation with third countries; non-members of the EU which may display a lack of respect for international law.
"Immigration and refugees must not only be dealt with at the borders, but at the sources. Here the EU must play an important role in assuring peace and stability which creates the conditions for human beings to survive and thrive," he concluded.
GUE/NGL Press Contact:
Nikki Sullings +32 483 03 55 75
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20