PES calls for UN-sponsored global conference on migration and asylum policies
On the eve of the UN General Assembly conference on refugees on September 19th, the Party of European Socialists (PES) is calling for such a UN-sponsored global conference to be managed on a regular basis. Our political family kick-started this idea of having a global debate at a conference in Paris today, on 8 July. The official title of the event, which was hosted by the French Parti Socialiste and the PES, was ‘Refugees: Our Progressive Answers’. In June, the UN High Commissariat for Refugees, announced that the number of people forcibly displaced due to conflict and persecution had risen to over 65 million at the end of 2015, compared to just under 60 million at the end of 2014. These figures underline just how important it is to act now. The PES believes that the migratory challenge urgently needs a global, common answer and is promoting a European response that fully respects the fundamental rights of refugees and follows the principle of solidarity. More than a legal commitment, this is our duty.
Speakers from political organisations and NGOs from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa took part in the debates of the conference.
PES President Sergei Stanishev said: “We need safe legal avenues and effective integration policies for those granted asylum under our common rules. Safe legal avenues are needed to save lives and effective integration policies are needed to offer opportunities to those fleeing war and oppression. But first of all we need to have a proper European asylum system with proper European external border management. That is the best way to preserve Schengen against the xenophobic backlash of nationalists and populists. The social-democrats leaders ask for a quick harmonization of asylum law and for a binding European Asylum Scheme. We believe in a permanent European resettlement scheme. I know that this would need to be built up little by little, but it is absurd to postpone the debate indefinitely. We have to acknowledge that the Dublin rules have failed and aim for more. We need a harmonised Common European Asylum System but, above all, we need more solidarity and a profound change in the narrative about migration. This is why we, the progressives, have met in Paris on 7 and 8 June.”
Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, leader of PS France said: "Solidarity does not seem to be anymore at the core of the European action. We have to build a migration and asylum policy tied up with the principles that initially founded the European project. Migration is a fact. We have to develop our lasting, global, welcoming and integration policies. We stand in solidarity with those fleeing war, poverty and persecution. This is not only a legal commitment but also a moral duty. Each European State member must take its responsibility. No bargaining should be allowed when talking about human and fundamental rights."
The declaration "Ten points to tackle the refugee challenges", adopted by the PES Presidency in June and endorsed by the PES leaders at a meeting in Paris yesterday was accepted as document. See the text here.
List of speakers:
Sergei Stanishev, PES President
Jean-Christophe Cambadélis,leader of PS
Jeremy Corbyn, (Labour Party Leader, UK)
Genevieve Garrigos (Amnesty International, spokesperson)
Dr. Ghazwan Adi (Syrian Social Democratic Party)
Khatoun Haidar (Tha’era MENA women platform)
Ralf Gruenert (UNHCR Representative in France)
Cecile Kyenge (Italian MEP, Rapporteur on migration for European Parliament)
Kostas Triantafyllos (Former MP from Chios, Greece, PASOK)
Marcus Töns (CoR PES Vice President, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
Forum Refugies (Representative, NGO)
Omar Abu Laban (JSDP Leadership, Jordan)
Carina Ohlsson (Member of Parliament, Sweden)
John Crombez, President of sp.a (Flemish Social Democratic Party, Belgium)
Laura Slimani (YES President)
Kris Pollet (ECRE Policy Advisor)
Radmila Sekerinska (Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, FYROM)
Sylvie Guillaume (Member of European Parliament, France)
Zita Gurmai (President PES Women)
Emmanuelle Cosse, French minister for sustainable housing