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Continued deaths in the Mediterranean mean we must change EU migration policy

Gabi Zimmer, Vorsitzende Linksfraktion GUE/NGL im EP

In preparation for the upcoming European Council meeting, GUE/NGL MEPs are calling for a total change of migration policy, as well as an end to the blackmailing of Greece and the Good Friday Agreement to be upheld in Ireland.

Speaking in the European Parliament this morning, GUE/NGL President, Gabi Zimmer, called on Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker: "We must ensure safe and legal pathways into Europe. Thousands more deaths in the Mediterranean mean that we cannot hesitate on this any longer. 

"These deaths also mean that deals with Sudan or Libya just don't make sense. We are talking about a devious regime and a failed state here. 

"The EU is financing powers in Sudan that attack migrants from other countries and areas in Africa as well as Libyan militias which are responsible for torture, rape and other kinds of inhumane treatment of migrants.

"We know that the Libyan coast guard is even preventing rescue at sea as shown in a report sent by Sea-Watch and Médecins Sans Frontières to the German Government.

"The 140 million euros in funding which are going to Sudan to prevent migratory flows into Europe via security forces should actually be assigned to countries where the refugees come from in order to support them and fight the root causes of migration. We need to help countries in Africa with concrete policies, and over the long-term.

Again addressing Juncker directly, Zimmer added: "You say that the EU helps Italy and Greece. Please, go to the hotspots and see for yourself. On the one hand, there is some help from the EU being provided there, but at the same time there are attempts to prevent family reunification and to send refugees back to Italy and Greece. That is unacceptable."

"Solidarity within the EU is not voluntary. You are absolutely right to initiate infringement procedure against those countries who do not participate in the relocation of refugees. It’s a question of solidarity being an integral and obligatory element of the EU."

Further on the topic of Greece, Zimmer added: "How can the Council talk about jobs and growth, while at the same time it is allowing a part of Europe to completely collapse. The Council has to allow for the conditions to be put in place in Greece to foster growth and jobs." 

"The Council has to take a position on the upcoming meeting of the creditors and eurozone ministers in order to put an end to the blackmailing and begin negotiations about debt relief."

In addition, on Brexit, Zimmer stated: "Theresa May is trying to get the support of the Democratic Unionist Party and I draw attention to this fact as it endangers the Good Friday Agreement. This proposed partnership breaches the condition included in the Brexit negotiation mandate which demands that the Good Friday Agreement must be upheld in all its parts. The British government is bound by the Good Friday Agreement to be neutral and impartial towards both governing forces in the North of Ireland." 

Basque MEP, Josu Juaristi, added: "There is very little democratic oversight of the process of externalisation of migration controls and asylum that is occurring. This will have significant consequences."

He also challenged Commission President, Juncker: "We must not only change our policies, but also our terminology. What do you think the message to society is if we keep talking about defending and protecting our borders against a danger; an enemy?"

"The so-called enemy and danger, in this case is normal people looking for a better life for themselves and their children. Terminology is not innocent, it can send out a xenophobic far-right message by implication."In preparation for the upcoming European Council meeting, GUE/NGL MEPs are calling for a total change of migration policy, as well as an end to the blackmailing of Greece and the Good Friday Agreement to be upheld in Ireland.

Speaking in the European Parliament this morning, GUE/NGL President, Gabi Zimmer, called on Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker: "We must ensure safe and legal pathways into Europe. Thousands more deaths in the Mediterranean mean that we cannot hesitate on this any longer. 

"These deaths also mean that deals with Sudan or Libya just don't make sense. We are talking about a devious regime and a failed state here. 

"The EU is financing powers in Sudan that attack migrants from other countries and areas in Africa as well as Libyan militias which are responsible for torture, rape and other kinds of inhumane treatment of migrants.

"We know that the Libyan coast guard is even preventing rescue at sea as shown in a report sent by Sea-Watch and Médecins Sans Frontières to the German Government.

"The 140 million euros in funding which are going to Sudan to prevent migratory flows into Europe via security forces should actually be assigned to countries where the refugees come from in order to support them and fight the root causes of migration. We need to help countries in Africa with concrete policies, and over the long-term.

Again addressing Juncker directly, Zimmer added: "You say that the EU helps Italy and Greece. Please, go to the hotspots and see for yourself. On the one hand, there is some help from the EU being provided there, but at the same time there are attempts to prevent family reunification and to send refugees back to Italy and Greece. That is unacceptable."

"Solidarity within the EU is not voluntary. You are absolutely right to initiate infringement procedure against those countries who do not participate in the relocation of refugees. It’s a question of solidarity being an integral and obligatory element of the EU."

Further on the topic of Greece, Zimmer added: "How can the Council talk about jobs and growth, while at the same time it is allowing a part of Europe to completely collapse. The Council has to allow for the conditions to be put in place in Greece to foster growth and jobs." 

"The Council has to take a position on the upcoming meeting of the creditors and eurozone ministers in order to put an end to the blackmailing and begin negotiations about debt relief."

In addition, on Brexit, Zimmer stated: "Theresa May is trying to get the support of the Democratic Unionist Party and I draw attention to this fact as it endangers the Good Friday Agreement. This proposed partnership breaches the condition included in the Brexit negotiation mandate which demands that the Good Friday Agreement must be upheld in all its parts. The British government is bound by the Good Friday Agreement to be neutral and impartial towards both governing forces in the North of Ireland." 

Basque MEP, Josu Juaristi, added: "There is very little democratic oversight of the process of externalisation of migration controls and asylum that is occurring. This will have significant consequences."
He also challenged Commission President, Juncker: "We must not only change our policies, but also our terminology. What do you think the message to society is if we keep talking about defending and protecting our borders against a danger; an enemy?"

"The so-called enemy and danger, in this case is normal people looking for a better life for themselves and their children. Terminology is not innocent, it can send out a xenophobic far-right message by implication."

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Konföderale Fraktion der Vereinten Europäischen Linken/Nordische Grüne Linke (GUE/NGL)