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PES President rejects idea of excluding any country from Schengen

Greece and EU flags

In light of the ongoing refugee crisis and ahead of the meeting of Greek political leaders in Athens today, PES President Sergei Stanishev reiterated his call for unity and solidarity:

"This refugee crisis is one of the worst in recent memory. As social-democrats and as Europeans we must live up to our values and our obligations. We have an obligation of protection, of solidarity, and of sound management of our borders.

Greece in particular has been facing the brunt of this crisis. The task of managing the number of people arriving is gigantic, particularly across a maritime border. No one country can be expected to manage these numbers on its own, and can certainly not be called to engage in illegally pushing refugees back.

Today, the risk of seeing a true humanitarian crisis inside the EU has become very real. But it is not inevitable, if we act as Europeans. I have said it before and I repeat it again today: the idea that the solution to this crisis is to exclude a country from Schengen and try to trap the refugees in a corner of Europe is not only immoral, it is also deeply anti-European. Solidarity is not an a-la-carte menu from which we can pick and choose.

We reject firmly any discussion about the possibility of excluding any country from Schengen. Instead, the solution has to come through cooperation, coordination, and responsibility. The Greek government, like all governments must comply with all the Schengen responsibilities, but also fulfil their obligation and relocate refugees in a fair manner. The countries affected must be supported, also financially. In parallel, we will make every effort to ensure that the upcoming EU-Turkey summit will lead to the immediate and full implementation of our agreements.”

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