PES Migration & Integration Network: COVID-19 response must protect refugees and other migrants


PES Migration & Integration Network

PES Migration & Integration Network meeting by videoconference.

In the face of an unprecedented global, health, human and economic crisis, the EU must put solidarity and human rights at the centre and protect asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants, members of the PES Migration & Integration Network said today as they met by videoconference.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, MEPs, representatives from PES member parties and organisations, and NGOs convened with the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, to discuss what must be done to protect and support those most at risk.

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson said:

“It´s not “we” and” them”, migrants are part of “us”. They are essential workers and voluntary workers and also victims of the pandemic. We have issued guidelines to Member States to help them to deal with COVID-19. Covid or not, the right to apply for asylum must be protected.”

Carina Ohlsson, Network Chair and a member of the Swedish parliament for SAP, said:

“Due to their very precarious circumstances, refugees and other migrants are particularly at risk. Many refugees and migrants are on the frontlines fighting this pandemic and at the same time the first to feel the economic consequences.  It is important that now, as the world is dealing with this pandemic, we make sure asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants are not further endangered. This must include a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups, such as children and women.

“And we must never allow COVID-19 to be used to ramp-up anti-migrant rhetoric or attacks on our fundamental rights. The EU must stay true to its values of solidarity and human rights.”

Hana Jalloul Mouro, PSOE State Secretary for Migrations said:

“Immigrants have always been there in the most important moments in history and have contributed to overcoming crises like this one.  To avoid people falling into irregularity, Spain has issued and extended permits for those working in essential sectors and we are working on new legal pathways for people to come in a regular way.”

The meeting expressed its full support for the measures put in place by Commissioner Johansson and her continued efforts to step up solidarity between EU Member States, including the initiative to relocate unaccompanied minors located in Greece. Commissioner Johansson updated the meeting on the Commission’s work on the new pact for migration. All participants agreed we need to create more opportunities for safe and legal pathways for migrants to use their skills and for Member States to create conditions for their skills, certificates and diplomas to be recognised.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Carina Ohlsson, Network Chair and a member of the Swedish parliament for SAP
  • Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs
  • Hana Jalloul Mouro, PSOE State Secretary for Migrations
  • Kati Piri MEP and Vice President of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and member of Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Anti Kotti, senior advisor for the parliamentary group SPD Finland
  • Javier Moreno MEP and President of the Spanish Socialist Delegation in the European Parliament