Refugee crisis: time to move from words to deeds
GUE/NGL MEPs called for respect for human rights, responsible action and for EU peace-making initiatives in countries at war during this morning's debate on the latest Council meeting and meetings of government leaders on the refugee crisis,
Spanish MEP Pablo Iglesias said: "Since I first took the floor here 15 months ago, we have seen many changes in Europe. Our group has sought changes to make it less tough on the weak, and less complicit with the powerful. I believe we need to continue that fight. 15 months ago I spoke about Spanish fighters fighting against fascism for a social and democratic Europe, a Europe that respects human rights. We have heard xenophobic remarks and statements in this chamber. We have heard hypocrisy and crocodile tears expressed when talking about human rights."
"There are families at the borders of Europe fleeing wars; Europeans cannot forget the poverty and misery that war implies. If we humiliate the people knocking at Europe's door, we humiliate Europe. The refugee crisis will not be solved through policies and tears, we need responsible action. Working for peace rather than fostering war. Let's not continue to wreak havoc on the dignity of Europe."
Spanish GUE/NGL MEP Marina Albiol continued: "What we have seen recently is right-wing and liberal governments such as Slovene police using tear gas against refugees, a party in power in Hungary that is a member of the EPP group using dogs and guns against refugees and on 17 October the Bulgarian police shooting and killing a Pakistani national at its borders. But what really embodies the way the EU treats refugees is the Czech Republic that is putting a stamp on refugees' arms and rounding them up into something akin to concentration camps. What we are seeing is a total disrespect for human rights. We should ensure that groups in this Parliament should expel those parties that are undermining human rights in this way."
Greek MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis said: "It's time for us to go from words to deeds. So far we've only see delays and postponements. In decision-making we need a viable EU approach that is humanitarian in essence. If we do not do that, it will threaten the whole process of European unification with breakdown. My country, Greece, cannot bear the burden by itself as it is doing now. It cannot become a limbo for human souls. When are we going to re-examine the Dublin 2 regulation? And when are we going to organise European peace-making initiatives to end the conflict in Syria?"
Portuguese MEP Inês Zuber said: "At the last EU Council meeting, solidarity came to an end. All meetings so far have been to see how to organise the removal of migrants from the EU more efficiently. These people are being treated as if they were criminals. All this while thousands of migrants are being turned back by military force and even attacked in the Mediterranean. We have to reflect on what is really going on here."
Greek MEP Sofia Sakorafa wondered how long the Commission and Council will be able to carry on debating how they will tackle the humanitarian crisis. "It is an insult to the millions of refugees and the thousands who have died and is a sad day for European civilisation."
She continued: "Germany is seeking to turn southern Europe and Greece in particular into a huge concentration camp and is encouraging the creation of closed borders within the EU. This is a dangerous game of destabilisation. The shaky foundations of Europe are being exposed for all to see."
GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
Nikki Sullings + 32 483 03 55 75