Kirkhope: Emergency relocation scheme not ideal if we want long-term cooperative solution

EU Member States need to stop the finger pointing and threats and find a way to work together to find long-term solutions to the migrant and refugee crisis, Timothy Kirkhope MEP said today.

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group MEP was speaking in a debate on Monday’s meeting of EU Home Affairs Ministers that did not reach agreement on a proposal to relocate 120,000 refugees within the EU. Mr Kirkhope warned against forcing the quotas on some countries, fearing that it could build up trouble that will make more permanent actions harder to reach.

Instead he argued that those countries that do not wish to take part in the scheme should be asked what other contribution they can make to assist, in a spirit of cooperation.

Speaking in the chamber, the former UK Home Office Minister, said:

“The EU is made up of 28 countries not just one or two. EU actions and decisions should therefore be taken in the spirit of consultation, not unilaterally declared by one or two Leaders who then expect everyone else to follow.

“For those member states that believe there is more than one solution they are currently accused of being less European than others. It’s simply not fair.

“By imposing emergency relocation schemes on countries that are for many reasons opposed we are storing up trouble for any future proposals which offer the best long-term solution.

“As vice president Timmermans just said no finger-pointing. But the reprimands and the ad hoc and rash decision making that we are seeing is causing us to lose focus on really strengthening our cooperation and vital actions to tackle the roots of the crisis.

“Much of the European commission’s proposal is of course correct: improving reception centres, speeding up processing and returns, tackling human trafficking and looking at how Europe can be a force for good in assisting with those countries where 97% of the refugees are located. And countries who disagree or cannot accept a quota system should be asked what other contributions they could make to help lessen the pressure, but I believe that resettling the most vulnerable refugees straight from the camps in their home regions is the most responsible thing all member states can do.

“So when the council meets next week I hope we’ll see less finger-pointing and more of a willingness to act together in the long term interests of all European countries and especially those who are truly eligible for refugee status.”

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