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ALDE proposes seven emergency measures to get a grip on the refugee crisis
Today, ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt and VP of the European Parliament Alexander Graf Lambsdorff have presented an emergency plan to get a grip on the refugee crisis. Liberals and Democrats consider that Europe is in an emergency situation and call on the European Council to adopt seven emergency measures the 18th of February:
Immediate action to manage the border between Turkey and Greece: Create a European Rapid Refugee Emergency Force (ERREF) with 2000 Border guards composed of European and national civil servants to manage the Greek border, the registration and screening of the refugees and to provide them with decent living conditions.
Fast-track the setting up of European Border and Coast Guard (ECBG), multiply the budget for the border protection by five and overhaul Europe`s budget in 2017 to focus on solving the refugee crisis. The ERREF will be integrated in the ECBG.
Take away the incentives to undertake dangerous journeys to Europe by agreeing on a new deal with Turkey: Two billion euros of direct financial assistance to refugees, one billion to the UNHCR to improve living conditions and education facilities in the camps. Make it possible to apply for humanitarian visa and asylum in the camps outside Europe.
Upgrade hot spots to reception centres managed by the ERREF: which will function as transit zones, in which a distinction is made between refugees and economic migrants. Migrants with no perspective of international protection will return to their home country.
Once previous actions have taken effect: Replace the Dublin Regulation with a new single European Asylum Procedure and put an end to discrepancy between Member States.
Create a single European Blue Card for economic migration to allow migrants to cover the EU’s need for skilled and unskilled workforce.
A European Peace Plan plus Marshall Plan for Syria, united European action to fight Assad and IS, with full support to democratic Syrian opposition forces.
Guy Verhofstadt, president of the ALDE Group, said: “All of our policies have failed so far. The only solution government leaders have come up with is to suspend Schengen for two years, to reintroduce border controls and to turn Greece into one big refugee camp against its will. It is the ultimate demonstration of political weakness, devaluing both our economy, European solidarity and our hard won European liberties.”
“Europe is in state of emergency and this requires emergency measures. Let’s not wait another three months to get a grip on the border between Turkey and Greece; Europe has to manage it now with an emergency force of 2000 border guards.
“Instead of demanding that Turkey stops refugees crossing the border, we should instead work to remove the incentives people have to undertake dangerous journeys to Europe in the first place. A new deal with Turkey: two billion euros for direct financial assistance for the refugees, one billion for the UNHCR to improve the conditions in the camps and the possibility to apply for visas and asylum in the camps, is the best way to manage the influx.”
EP Vice-President Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP, Germany), added: “In order to address the current refugee crisis, we need to take bold steps. A truly common European approach is key to secure our external borders. Therefore, a full-fledged European Coast and Border Guard has to be established immediately. At the same time, we need to intensify our diplomatic efforts to end the devastating war in Syria and find a stable political solution for the country.”
Tonight, Guy Verhofstadt will discuss the ALDE Roadmap with Dutch PM Mark Rutte and next week with European Commissioner Avramopoulos. The European Parliament will debate the refugee crisis on Tuesday 2 February with the Dutch State Secretary for Security and Justice Klaas Dijkhoff.