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Italy has seen a constant increase in the number of people arriving across the Mediterranean in recent years. Hundreds of thousands are waiting in reception centres or being housed by local authorities, who are stretched to their limits. This situation cannot continue – one state cannot face the brunt of this situation alone. A legal binding decision has been taken on the relocation of refugees and it is outrageous that certain national governments still refuse to accept this. The Commission has a duty to ensure that all countries meet their responsibilities. It is almost five years since the scale of this problem became apparent and yet we are no closer to having a strategy in place to deal with it. We are a continent of 500 million people and one of the richest regions of the planet, yet our failure to organise effectively turns manageable issues into crises. We cannot wait until something is back on the front pages before acting. It is essential to finally apply the relocation mechanism to all third country nationalities. The Dublin System must be revised and updated to reflect the current situation and, in the long run, Europe should set up corridors for legal migration and increase its commitment to stabilise Libya and further invest in Africa in order to tackle the causes of these increasing migratory flows.
Our politicians like to consider themselves leaders of “The Free World” and to praise the “free market”. But WHO is really “free”??? What is freedom if not the right to go where you want to be? And what is a migrant if not a one-man corporation that wants to do business abroad??? The “free market” exists only for the rich. They can do business wherever they want, whereas common people are tied to their nation states like medieval serfs to the land of their lords… We have a global market, but not everyone has access to it. In Europe we use resources from all over the world – from oil and coffee to brilliant minds and cheap labour. We actually want engineers from Bangladesh to come to Europe and help our high-tech industries maintain their leading position in the market. But textile workers from Bangladesh are supposed to stay in their country and produce cheap clothes for us. THAT is anyhting but fair. If we want free access to the markets of the world for ourselves, we should also grant free access to our market to the whole world – meaning, YES, also free access to the labour market for “one-man corporations” selling simply the work of the CEO’s own two hands!
The S&D Group is committed to a positive approach on the issues of legal migration and integration. We strongly believe that the EU cannot remain silent and watch as tragedies unfold on the high seas in the Mediterranean but must ensure co-operation and solidarity define our policy people in distress receive the protection they need. We have been reiterating our call for the EU to adopt a holistic approach to migration which covers all of the interlinked elements — from solidarity and sharing responsibility fairly between countries, to tackling criminal traffickers and smugglers, and the role of Frontex and EASO (the European Asylum Support Office). We want to see the EU: • develop safe lawful access routes into the EU for asylum seekers and refugees • ensure the Common European Asylum System is fully and properly implemented • strengthen and enhance the Common Resettlement policy • bring a consistent approach to our migration, visa, international development and foreign affairs policies towards non-EU countries • ensure that money spent on migration is money well spent.