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EU response to assist Middle East refugees will depend on national humanity

Press Release

Thursday 10 Sep 2015

Dublin MEP, Nessa Childers has welcomed Parliament’s endorsement of a European Commission plan to relocate 160,000 refugees, and for a complete review the rules governing asylum seeker requests.

Speaking after the debate and today’s vote in Strasbourg, Ms. Childers said:

“In contrast to the spontaneous acts of individual citizens’ generosity as this humanitarian crisis unfolds, we have had to shame many EU national governments into behaving with a modicum of decency.”

“Ireland has been an eager disciple of Ms. Merkel’s government’s example from Berlin. My plea to Minister Fitzgerald is that we emulate the German example when EU ministers for home affairs gather to discuss this emergency in 4 days’ time.

“Just look at the pressure that poorer neighbouring countries to Syria are bearing from the influx of refugees. The only thing that compares, over here in Europe, is the exaggeration over the magnitude of the inflows.

“The Dublin asylum system has become a byword for the worst kind of nimybism, where Governments refuse to assume responsibility because of an accident of geography, when the lives of people fleeing war are at stake.

“By throwing asylum seekers at the mercy of the seas and human traffickers, so as to reach our shores, these rules are a death sentence on some. We need to issue humanitarian visas for Syrian refugees

“The Juncker Commission is showing leadership and willing to address these structural flaws in the long term, yet even these timid steps, in the face of urgent humanitarian needs, are being resisted by many EU Member States.

“We must scrap our current approach in favour of rules that ensure a fair distribution of refugees, while preventing the break-up of families in times of crisis.

“Some of the shameful scenes we’ve been witnessing over the past few days bring back memories of the darkest days in European history and the way we respond will both seal the fate of many human beings and reflect the true nature of our continent and our political systems, for better or worse.

In conclusion Ms Childers said: “In Ireland people are very concerned about the homeless situation, and we need acknowledge this fear and ensure that the Irish Government looks at the homeless crisis and the refugee crisis equally.

Note to Editor:
The figure of 160,00 includes relocating 120,000 asylum seekers within the EU – on top of the original May proposal to relocate 40,000.