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EU summit/Migration

EU leaders in favour of solidarity as long as they can opt out


Commenting on the outcome of today’s summit of EU heads of state and government on the EU’s response to the migration crisis in the Mediterranean, Greens/EFA co-presidents Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts said:
“The message from this summit seems to be that EU leaders support the idea of solidarity, so long as it doesn’t involve them. EU leaders are instead united in their lacklustre response, which is now rapidly becoming the norm for the EU: do the bare minimum and rather than produce a genuine solution, kick the can down the road until later. Yet this failure to tackle the problem effectively amplifies it.

The decision to distribute the 40 000 migrants currently in Greece and Italy is certainly a good start. But EU leaders that do not want to participate in the reallocation, such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, are under no obligation to do so. There are no objective, binding criteria for the reallocation of migrants and no solidarity among the EU member states.  

Where EU leaders do agree is on tightening up border control and preventing migrants from getting into the EU. While so many migrants are fleeing conflicts at the EU’s borders, dictatorships or climate change, there was no discussion of these causes or of safe and legal means of entry to the EU. This summit has produced more questions than answers and reveals division between the Member states as well as between Presidents Juncker and Tusk.

The EU’s reputation is on the line and yet it is unable to find effective solutions to the problems facing it whether it’s the debt crisis, particularly in Greece, or the dysfunctional system of economic governance which is deepening social inequalities, or increasingly aggressive tax fraud and evasion. Instead of rising to these challenges, EU leaders’ ineffective decisions are undermining the political integration that the EU needs to counter-balance the ever-growing powers of private enterprise and finance."