S&Ds to Commission and Council: no summer sale on migrants' and refugees’ human rights

Reacting to the large influx of refugees and migrants over the past few weeks and the worrying human rights situation they are facing, S&D MEPs called on the Council and Member States to provide more solidarity with the countries facing the brunt of the crisis and warned them not to backtrack on commitments to relocate refugees.

S&D vice-president  responsible for human rights issues, Elena Valenciano, said:

“We are alarmed by the prospect of a reduction in the already minimal commitments on relocation and resettlement of refugees among member states, which has so far been a shameful failure.  The comments of the Spanish Interior Minister saying that they could look to reduce the numbers agreed to are particularly concerning. We cannot change the rules now and put even lower standards on our values and principles. If we do so, we would not be fooling only ourselves but may also be failing our legal obligations to thousands of people seeking the protection they need.

“There can be no summer sales on human rights policy. If the Commission gives in to the pressure of the Council, this would mean a severe blow for an already much deteriorated image of the EU as a human rights champion, which translates in turn into a growing lack of credibility across the globe.” 

S&D Group vice-president for migration issues, Tanja Fajon, added:

“What we are seeing in Europe right now is a complete lack of solidarity. Both a lack of solidarity to the thousands of refugees who need our protection and to Italy who is facing this new influx alone. If we respond as a whole continent this is a manageable situation.

“We need to implement a truly European Asylum System. member states must act immediately and comply with their legal obligations to relocate those in need. We must then go further and put in place a truly centralised system that ensures all countries take their fair share of responsibility. There can be no European solution while EU governments protect only their national interests. We need to shame and blame all those who turn a blind eye to people in need."