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Migration in the Med: assistance, yes; compulsion, no

Saving lives in the Mediterranean, addressing human trafficking, and stabilising the EU’s external border need strong EU cooperation, but creating a system of compulsion is not sustainable, Timothy Kirkhope MEP said today in a debate on the EU’s migration policy.

Saving lives in the Mediterranean, addressing human trafficking, and stabilising the EU’s external border need strong EU cooperation, but creating a system of compulsion is not sustainable, Timothy Kirkhope MEP said today in a debate on the EU’s migration policy.

The European Conservatives and Reformists Group home affairs spokesman also published a short paper setting out how the EU should increase cooperation, beef up implementation of existing initiatives and strengthen existing agencies to alleviate the current situation.

Speaking in today’s debate on the European Commission’s agenda on migration, Mr Kirkhope, a former British Immigration Minister, said:

“There is no doubt that when it comes to saving lives, addressing the criminality of human trafficking, and stabilising the EU’s external border, cooperation is key. We have a moral duty to assist one another.

“But I do not believe that this assistance should undermine key principles of humanitarian law and asylum and that an individual should be able to seek sanctuary in the first safe country reached. True solidarity is offering assistance because it is the right thing to do, not through compulsion. I do not believe that quota and force relocation is sustainable or democratic, nor is it fair to the individuals in question.

“It is a mistake to have a strategy which addresses all kinds of migration in one document. Economic migration and asylum are two very different issues with their very own challenges, and this joint strategy blurs the lines which should be clear. We do agree on the role of FRONTEX, EASO, Returns, EURODAC, and the need for increased funding and tackling the issue at the source, and I look forward to working with the Commission on this important issue.”

Read Mr Kirkhope’s paper here: http://ecrgroup.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/kirkhope-med-paper.pdf

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