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Ska Keller: “Refugees, 40,000 can only be a start”

Hundreds of refugees continue to arrive at Europe’s external borders every day. MEPs approved on 9 September a plan to relocate 40,000 migrants from Italy and Greece to other member states.

After the vote here’s the opinion of Ska Keller, a German member of the Greens/EFA group who is responsible for steering the plan through Parliament, about the refugee crisis and the relocation scheme

With hundreds of migrants arriving in Europe every day, is it sufficient to relocate 40,000 migrants from Italy and Greece?

“The report the Parliament voted on today actually says that the 40,000 can only be a start. We need to have a permanent emergency relocation system, so that we can swiftly act when there is an emergency. We don’t have that in place yet, but the European Commission has proposed it.

Of course we need to look more long-term at the whole problem of the Dublin system. Under the Dublin Regulation refugees have to apply for asylum in the country of first entry. That is a problem, because there are only a limited number of countries that have an outer border. We need a new distribution key that is fair to all member states, but also fair to refugees”.

The Commission is working on a permanent emergency relocation scheme. Could the proposal approved today serve as a model?

“The report that we voted on should be a model for the new emergency relocation scheme. The Commission has taken on board our proposal to take into account the interest of refugees. I think this really needs to be done. It is important that we put the focus on what refugees themselves want – such as living where they already have family, settling in a country where they speak the language or developing skills – in order to create a win-win situation for refugees and the whole of society”.

What do you think about the proposal for the migration and refugee policy that the Commission presented in plenary today?

“I agree with most of Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposals. I especially welcome that he was very clear about Europe’s obligation to take on board refugees. There are other things I am not so happy about. For example creating a list of safe countries of origin, because I do think that this has severe implications on the right to ask for asylum, which he said before is one of the most important fundamental rights”.

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