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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.
I have one question. Are Italian frontiers also European frontiers? If the answer is “NO !!!”, well, Europe turns its gaze on the other side and let Italy solve this immense problem by itself. If the answer is “Yes !!!” then stop making hypocrites, stop making egoists, stop doing myopics, and start seriously tackling the problem, because the future of Europe is inextricably linked to the positive solution to this problem, I believe that the solution is not just the division of the number of immigrants in more or less equal parts. I’m also sure that the solution is not searched with walls and barbed wire, but it must necessarily involve the countries of origin , who have to take on their responsibilities. They cannot think about downloading their problems to others. One last question: is it possible that there is a specific strategy behind it?
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.