Allocation of refugees must not suffer because of the EU-Turkey deal
In a motion for a resolution to be voted on by the European Parliament Ska Keller, refugee policy spokeswoman of the Greens in the European Parliament, shows the Member States and the European Commission the red card. She is opposed to the allocation of refugees within Europe being reduced because of the EU-Turkey deal. Her motion for a resolution is available here.
What’s at stake
The European Commission and the Member States are planning to set aside around a third (54,000) of the places originally intended for the reallocation of refugees from Greece and Italy to other Member States for the EU-Turkey deal. The places are to be directly channelled to the “one in, one out” policy, which violates human rights, as part of the deal with Turkey. The policy, which is the cornerstone of the deal, specifies that all Syrian refugees crossing into Greece from Turkey will be returned to Turkey, with Europe accepting the same number of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey in exchange. When negotiating the Turkey deal, the Member States failed to agree on acceptance of more refugees, so they now plan to use 54,000 places that were originally intended for the reallocation of refugees from Greece and Italy for the acceptance of Syrian refugees from Turkey within the scope of the EU-Turkey pact.
Ska Keller’s key demands
Ska Keller is firmly opposed to selling out on solidarity. In her motion for a resolution to be voted on by the European Parliament, she is calling on the Member States to create additional places for the acceptance of refugees from camps around Syria, instead of reducing places for refugees from Greece and Italy. Below are Ska’s key demands, which the European Parliament will vote on in September:
- The Member States need to increase safe and legal ways for refugees to get to Europe. They must greatly extend resettlement and schemes for the humanitarian acceptance of refugees from third countries.
- The allocation of refugees within the EU must not be reduced for the sake of the EU-Turkey pact. Italy and in particular Greece are dependent on the support and solidarity of the other Member States. Greece continues to be overwhelmed by the large number of people seeking protection. The number of asylum seekers in Italy is increasing dramatically.
- In addition to refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea, those from Afghanistan seeking protection must also be included in the reallocation programme. One in five asylum seekers in Greece is from Afghanistan. Many are minors who are fleeing alone.
- The Member States need to do more to ensure the improved reallocation of refugees from Greece and Italy. They must make available a third of the total of 160,000 reallocation places by the end of the year. Procedures also need to be expedited.
- Instead of merely being consulted, the European Parliament must be granted full co-decision powers with respect to the decision on the reallocation of refugees. Ska is therefore calling for a legislative amendment, according to which the ordinary legislative procedure would apply rather than an exceptional procedure for emergency decisions.
9 June: Deadline for proposed amendments to the motion for a resolution
30 June: Debate on the proposed amendments in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament
11/12 July: Vote in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs
12 September: Final vote in plenary