Solidarity and responsibility sharing must define EU approach to migration and asylum
The New Pact on Migration and Asylum must be guided by the principles of solidarity and responsibility sharing: Maltese, Greek, Spanish and Italian borders are our common European borders, the PES Migration and Integration Network stated today.
Co-chair of the PES Migration and Integration Network, Swedish MP Carina Ohlsson from SAP, said:
“We congratulate our progressive Commissioner Johansson for her enormous efforts on the Pact. The Pact follows on several of our priorities but also leaves some aspirations unachieved, with the most prominent issues being the question of responsibility sharing, including for Search and Rescue. The progressive family is fighting for asylum and migration policy which holds true to European values and is built on commitments on solidarity, bringing a better balance of responsibility among countries. Asylum and migration policy requires a common European way forward.”
PES ministers, MEPs, representatives from PES member parties and organisations, and NGOs met by videoconference to discuss the New Pact, which aims to balance the need to welcome refugees and other migrants, fight smugglers, and ensure integration and appropriate treatment for everyone, including those who cannot remain in Europe.
Speaking at the meeting, Portuguese Minister for Home Affairs Eduardo Cabrita said:
“Migration is closely related to a vision of Europe with a social dimension and close relation with our neighbour continent, Africa. We must have a long term and global approach to migration. We are working closely with Commissioner Johansson on the incoming EU Presidency to reach an agreement. Portugal took part in all EU programs on relocation, resettlement and on saving lives in the Mediterranean. We must be clear on the values we are defending. Shared responsibility and solidarity are a collective European duty. Migration can benefit the EU in the long term.”
Maltese Minister for Home Affairs Byron Camilleri said:
“Migration affects the whole European Union, including those Member States which are not points of first entry into Europe. The most pressing questions on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum remains whether frontline Member States would continue to be left alone to deal with a migration crisis after another. The Pact is a step in the right direction with respect to the external dimension and returns. On the other hand, frontline Member States would not be better off without a meaningful relocation mechanism. Europeans are expecting results from us, results which cannot be achieved through the knee jerk reactions of the past.”
The Network reiterated that Member States must live up to the founding principles of the European Union by committing to saving lives; respecting international and EU agreements and law, especially respect for the right to asylum; and, showing solidarity with people in need, including in search and rescue.
The PES stands for a shared response to the shared challenge and opportunity of asylum and migration. This means effective relocation of refugees and other migrants among Member States. All governments must remember that EU membership comes with rights and obligations: a sustainable migration system based on a shared responsibility will benefit all.
At its last meeting in September, the Network praised the New Pact as a milestone plan for a common European approach. Socialist and democrats will continue to follow the Pact closely to ensure Europe upholds the right to asylum, focusing on safe and regular pathways, inclusion and integration.