EU countries must do more to protect refugees during current cold snap

EU countries must do more to protect refugees during current cold snap

Following a request from the S&D Group in the European Parliament, the Conference of Presidents decided to introduce a debate in the upcoming plenary on the situation of refugees in Europe affected by the cold wave, notably in the Balkans and Greece.

S&D MEP and vice-president Elena Valenciano said:

"The S&D Group has managed to have a debate planned in the plenary next week with the European Commission and the Council on the dramatic situation of thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants suffering extremely hard conditions due to the cold wave."

"These freezing conditions are adding to an already unbearable situation.  The snow and the lack of proper facilities, even basic heating systems, are making the lives of those who recently arrived in Europe even more insecure. It is vital that national authorities act immediately to address the situation.

S&D MEP and vice-president Tanja Fajon added:

"The situation facing thousands of migrants and refugees is grave. We knew that this cold snap was coming and action should already have been taken to help those most in need. All member states must show much greater solidarity to ensure that no more lives are lost. Relocation of refugees is still taking far too long, as is the sending of much needed experts to the countries that need the most support. This is just another example that shows we need a fully functioning common European asylum system, including an overhaul of the Dublin agreement and real sharing of responsibility between all member states.

"This plenary session cannot only focus on internal questions of the parliament - we need to show our citizens that we are not turning our back on this dramatic situation."