Member states who refuse their legal obligation to relocate refugees must face consequences

EU relocation programme must accelerate, say S&Ds,  #EuWakeUp, S&D MEPs Josef Weidenholzer and Ana Gomes, refugee camps Serres and Petra Olympou in Greece, Yazidi people,

The S&D Group has called on the European Commission to ensure that member states comply with their legal obligations to relocate refugees staying in Greece and Italy. The call came during a debate in the European Parliament on the failure of countries to take the refugees that they had agreed to last year.

The S&D Group spokesperson for the issue, Cécile Kyenge MEP, said:

“Member states have committed themselves to relocate 160,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece by the end of September 2017. However, so far only 18,000 have actually been relocated, 11% of those originally agreed. This is clearly not acceptable. This is leaving thousands of asylum seekers in limbo, unable to start rebuilding their lives.

“We need to get the relocation system working. Member states should pledge and transfer asylum seekers on a stable monthly basis, giving priority to the relocation of unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable applicants. If they do not do comply with their legal obligations towards these people then the European Commission must take action. We fully support the Commission proposal to begin infringement procedures against countries that do not comply. We need to finally show solidarity, both between member states and with those fleeing war and persecution. This does not stop at the end of September, relocation must be an ongoing process.”