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PES tackles big issues of migration

Migration is at the top of the EU agenda and urgent European action is needed to resolve the crisis currently ongoing in Europe and in the Middle East. That is why the PES this week gathered experts from social democratic parties across Europe to discuss ways of resolving it.

The PES Migration Network was held in Brussels after the PES Presidency re-launched the network. National MPs, MEPs, experts from member parties and partner organisations discussed the European Agenda on Migration and the current refugee crisis. The network is co-chaired by Carina Ohlsson, MP for the Swedish Socialdemocratic Party (SAP) and Marit Maij, MP for the Dutch Labour Party (PvdA). 

Deputy Secretary General Marije Laffeber, stated that “Migration is not a temporary issue. More people then ever before are on the move. The European Union is a community of solidarity and humanity. Therefore we have to work closely together to find common solutions and answers and to implement fair and humane policies.  Migration will remain an important part of the European and PES agenda in the years to come”

Carina Ohlsson, who chaired the meeting, said that at this moment, more people in the world are displaced by conflicts than at any time since the Second World War. “Europe has the moral duty to act and to protect human rights and to safegueard the right to seek and enjoy protection of every asylum seeker who comes to Europe. Every European country needs to step up and Europe has the legal and moral obligation to open safe and legal avenues for asylum seekers. If all 28 Member States receive a million refugees in 2015, it would mean an increase in population of 0,2%. The largest number of refugees are currently staying in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.” Ohlsson was clear that we need to address the root causes of the problem. She said the EU must play an active role in foreign affairs and development policies.

The migration network spoke about the work done by Cecile Kyenge, S&D group MEP (PD Italy), who is currently preparing a report on the refugee crisis at EU level. Kyenge said that the EU needs to develop a much stronger common approach, also between the institutions. She presented eight recommendations varying from the responsibility and legal obligation to help refugees, to the need for better coordination and cooperation between the different EU institutions and between the member states, to ways to fight human traffickers, to the need of common and coordinated efforts in order to avoid indiscriminate repatriation.

Zita Gurmai, PES Women President addressed the vulnerable role of women and children in this crisis and wanted to give full attention to help solving conflicts in countries migrants are coming from. On behalf of the CEE Network for Gender issues she called for humane conditions for the refugee reception and support for civil society engagement when working with refugees. “Now is the  moment to show solidarity and respect EU legislation already in force, but at the same time remain humane. We need a common European border control framework and a common strategy on regulating immigration, but most of all we need the Schengen Agreement and implementation of four EU freedoms (movement of capital, services, goods and people). Schengen is freedom!” Gurmai said.

Migration to the EU is a direct consequence of global inequalities and the search for a better life where standard of living is higher. The long term solution to the crisis is to stabilise the African continent with increased development aid and by seeking peaceful solutions.

In the future the Migration Network will address proposals for a long term solution to the refugee crisis, but also thoroughly discuss concrete proposals from the European Commission’s Agenda on Migration. 

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