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PES welcomes strong Agenda on Migration

The PES welcomes the Agenda on Migration released today by the European Commission. This is more than welcome because it offers a holistic and more comprehensive approach to migration and the issues related to it, proposing concrete measures when dealing with an immediate emergency but also foreseeing an effective long-term migration policy which includes recognising economic migrants as an opportunity for all, not a threat.

After the recent dramatic loss of lives in the Mediterranean Sea, the social democratic family has strongly called upon the EU to deliver concrete responses. We welcomed the European Commission’s ten point action plan on migration, as an early and immediate action to respond to this humanitarian emergency. We all agreed that this was just a first step however, and that we needed a more solid and comprehensive approach, a long term strategy based on shared solidarity and responsibility among member states. Europe cannot be a lonely actor in this challenge. Strengthening cooperation with third countries and with countries of origin and transit is essential in our fight against smugglers.

The PES President Sergei Stanishev said that “The proposal to have a distribution mechanisms for relocation and resettlement for people in need of protection and the fair sharing of responsibility among all 28 Member States recognises that migration is not a single country issue and that the Mediterranean Sea is not just the border with southern countries’, but with Europe”. He also added that “we need to act together in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility, putting the protection of human lives as priority and the fight of criminal organisations and trafficking of human beings our main goal”.

As social democrats, our moral and political duty is to grant protection to those in need, but also to promote a well-managed legal migration system and foster integration policies for those who settle in our countries against the populist rhetoric willing to increase intolerance and fear in our societies. Sergei Stanishev added “Today’s emergency is not just an Italian, Maltese or Greek one, we must be united in delivering a European response by strengthening a common European Asylum System, but above all by making a common European migration policy a reality, as stated in the Agenda.

On 23rd April, the PES Presidency approved a Declaration on migration, asking for EU efforts to be fully focused on safeguarding human lives, protecting refugees, constructing effective migration policies in Europe, and fighting against criminal organisations and human trafficking in cooperation with third countries.

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