16 December 2015
There are no easy answers or simplistic responses to the many challenges mounting in the EU such as the migrant crisis, terrorism and the UK renegotiation, Syed Kamall MEP, ECR leader, said yesterday in a speech on today’s summit.
There are no easy answers or simplistic responses to the many challenges mounting in the EU such as the migrant crisis, terrorism and the UK renegotiation, Syed Kamall MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists leader, said yesterday in a speech on today’s summit.
Speaking in the chamber in Strasbourg, he said:
“For every single one of this week’s summit items, there is no simple answer. No simple sound bite, one policy, or one Council conclusion to solve all the crises facing Europe.
“Far too many people offer simplistic responses. Some speak of More Europe, a single EU intelligence agency, a single European Army – leading to a single European government
“Others speak of No Europe, closing our borders completely: no entry, no migration, no cooperation. Sometimes the only voices that seem to be heard are those of the extremes.
“Our politics is in danger of becoming more polarised at a time when our world becomes more complex. But these crises transcend the 140 characters of a tweet.
“The migration & refugee crisis has no simple answers. There is no silver bullet. It must be tackled at source, and we must work our way to a political solution in Syria – however slow and frustrating that is.
“But not everyone coming here is necessarily fleeing war, but understandably seeking a better life. Who can blame them? But we simply cannot offer everyone a home – regardless of their personal circumstances.
“We must have clear rules in place to grant asylum to those genuinely fleeing persecution, to return economic migrants, and to apply through existing immigration channels.
“But instead we see one large member state sending out the message that everyone is welcome regardless of their circumstances and reasons for travelling, and then berates other member states when they re-erect borders.
“We see other Member States not living up to their responsibilities to detain and process people. And when they are unable to cope, they don’t ask for help. So instead we see knee jerk policies in the heat of a crisis.
“Like a relocation scheme based on a simple idea, but never really rooted in reality, only helping 160 people to date.
“And when reality bites, the rhetoric changes. When Schengen states talk of re-erecting borders, we finally focus on strengthening the EU’s external borders, with talk about a European Border Guard.
“Yes, we agree that enhancing Frontex can help. But we need to be very careful about how & what we agree now will work, not just for the next few months, but for the years ahead.
“Instead of compulsion over Member States, we need more cooperation between Member States, not using a crisis to undermine sovereignty.
“The same goes for the terrorism crisis we now face. We must react calmly and rationally, with policies to address the threat.
“Some member states are going after Daesh in the Middle East. We now need to build trust between member states intelligence agencies to share data, not compel them. But we must also tackle the wider issues that lead young people to be recruited by Daesh.
“The identity crisis that leaves young people vulnerable to Daesh’s tactics will only be made worse if we now seek to demonise or ostracise our Muslim communities in our countries.
“Turning to the UK’s requests for EU reform, you may be surprised to hear that I might have a few thoughts on this!
“We all know the majority of these requests could be accommodated relatively easily, but there is some work to do to accommodate both the UK’s requests, and to pursue further European reform.
“As a British Conservative, I am proud that a Conservative Prime Minister will deliver a referendum for the British people. As a British MEP, I will help – where I can – with the renegotiation process and to explain to colleagues here and to my voters – who will have the final say. But as leader of the ECR Group, I hope this process will act as a catalyst for EU wide reforms.
“Looking at the summit agenda, there are some tough issues that need proper thinking and planning. 2014 was a year for a new European Parliament, Commission and Council President, 2015 has been a year of knee-jerk reactions. 2016 needs to be the year of laying the groundwork for long term solutions based on cooperation.”
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