The refugee crisis is a European problem which can only be solved through European solutions. The Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament has been at the front line calling for a realistic, responsible and common European response to the current refugee crisis.
Not every migrant that comes to Europe can stay in Europe. We believe it is our duty to offer safe harbour to Syrian civil war refugees who are fleeing for their lives. But in order to be able to welcome them, we need to draw a clear line between them and economic migrants; we cannot welcome them all. Therefore, migrants who are not granted asylum should be systematically sent back to their home countries. This is why we need to introduce a European list of safe countries.
It was mainly on our demand that the EPP-led European Commission came up with an ambitious package of measures well before the recent wave of refugees on the Western Balkans route. We believe that there should be more solidarity between the Member States and a fair burden-sharing on how to deal with the influx of refugees.
Together, we ask for a balanced approach that tackles the refugee crisis at its roots. Humanitarian aid has to be further stepped up to stabilise the crisis regions. We also have to step up the fight against criminal networks of human traffickers. The EU now has a robust mandate to do so.
Finally, Frontex must be turned into a genuine European border protection force with its own personnel and equipment that can intervene on the spot. This is how we will protect the Schengen area and freedom of movement in Europe, while effectively protecting our external borders.
To put it in a nutshell, we in the EPP Group believe that the priorities are: firstly, to limit the number of migrants that come to Europe; secondly, to organise a fair burden-sharing and a fair distribution of refugees between the Member States, and thirdly, to secure the EU’s external borders.
It is now up to the Member States to deliver. They must implement what they committed themselves to doing.
Together, we are #bringingresults.