These trying times are a test for Europe, and how we respond under the pressure of increased migration is a measure of the strength of our fundamental values. It is within our European values that we seek the answers to the challenges we face. The EPP Group has called for every Member State to play its part and has supported the quick implementation of the proposals for relocation and resettlement of beneficiaries of international protection.
This is an area where we need more Europe, not less. It is an issue where the EPP Group will continue to push for migration to be tackled in a holistic way at European level. We need to go beyond piecemeal approaches and understand that unless we tackle every aspect of this complicated issue, we will not get anywhere.
This means examining where the EU’s money is going in order to help countries in Africa get back on their feet and tackle the root causes; how can we boost search and rescue? How can we dismantle the criminal networks profiting from the vulnerable? How can people seek protection and how can we safely and efficiently return those not eligible for protection in Europe?
We do not want to see Europe become a fortress but the answer is not to dismantle our external borders either. Having organised borders is essential for security, for the functioning of our Schengen Zone and to ensure that those truly in need of protection are granted it.
As a first step, the EPP Group therefore welcomes the European Commission’s plans to implement a Hot Spot approach in the most affected regions as well as the plan to have a so-called ‘safe-list’ of countries where migrants can be returned to if they are found not to be eligible for protection.