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French, German and Italian European Affairs Ministers call for strong European coordination on refugees

European Affairs Ministers of the Party of European Socialists met today in Brussels to discuss proposals for addressing the crucial issue of refugees. At the meeting the French and German Ministers of State for European Affairs Harlem Desir and Michael Roth called for a strong and ambitious EU action.

French Minister of State for European Affairs and Chair of the Ministerial network Harlem Desir stated: ‘’To the horror that throws thousands of men, women and children on the roads, European democracies need to answer with honour, by granting asylum to those who have to leave their country because of war and dictatorship. Asylum right is at the heart of European values. In this crisis of unprecedented gravity, solidarity among Member States is more necessary than ever to build a common and global response in Europe and with the countries of origin and transit.’’

German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth added: ‘’The European Union is a community of solidarity and humanity. Thus, we need a common European response to the migration and refugee issue. I am concerned that everybody interprets solidarity in a different way.  It means overcoming national interests and accepting the different views of your partners in order to find a compromise. Germany will take more responsibility but our expectation is a common strategy which is based on the principle of solidarity. Every member state should make a contribution according to its population, economic growth and social stability. A common migration policy needs ambitious EU-initiatives as much as strong support by all member states.

Speaking from Italy, State Secretary for European Affairs Sandro Gozi stated: ‘Tackling the drama of refugees escaping war can become an opportunity to help Europe return to its roots, its identity, its raison d’être. As socialist and democrats, but first and foremost as European citizens, we are committed to promote the founding values of Europe – solidarity, collaboration, respect for others – and to identify the common policies that can promote them.  

The PES is actively working to promote a progressive European migration and asylum policy with lasting solutions to the refugee crisis. The PES Migration Network met today, gathering national MPs, MEPs and national experts who discussed issues relating to refugees, including protection of asylum seekers, refugee reception, relocation and resettlement, the fight against smuggling, as well as solidarity with refugees and between Member States.

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