In a plenary debate in the European Parliament, the S&D Group will call for urgent, humanitarian solutions to respond to last week’s devastating fires in the Moria camp on the island of Lesvos that left 12,000 people without shelter. The evacuation of asylum-seekers left and their transfer to facilities where their basic rights under EU and international law can be guaranteed must be a priority.
S&D MEPs welcome the announcement that the Commission will present its new Pact on Migration and Asylum next week (23 September) and we urge the Commission to commit to a permanent mandatory solidarity mechanism, which includes relocation measures from day one.
Iratxe García, S&D Group leader, said:
“When the new Pact on Migration and Asylum is finally presented next week, national governments must wake up, put solidarity back in to the soul of Europe and make sure that this latest shameful chapter in migration policy is never repeated.
Even before the tragic fires broke out last week, Moria camp was already overcrowded to four times its capacity with dire living conditions. Now thousands of helpless families are without the basic amenities that any human life deserves, while EU governments turn a blind eye to the suffering and avoid taking any responsibility for relocating vulnerable people in need of protection.
We need to stop trying to fix a broken leg with a Band-Aid. If the Commission wants the S&D Group’s full support on next week’s new Pact, there must be a mandatory solidarity mechanism for relocation of asylum-seekers as part of the long-term solution to migration and asylum.”
Kati Piri, vice-president for resilient democracies and fundamental rights, said:
“Even before the devastating fires in Moria that has left over 12,000 people without shelter or access to food, water and medicines, the unsanitary conditions in the closed camps in Lesvos were already inhumane and unacceptable. Rebuilding Moria camp is not the solution.
The EU needs to take urgent action to provide shelter on the Greek mainland for the 4,000 children and 8,000 adults without a roof over their heads. We know there are cities and regions throughout the EU willing to do more to relocate asylum-seekers so what are we waiting for? National governments should listen to their calls and show that European solidarity is not an illusion. This is not just a question of fulfilling a moral obligation, but about respecting fundamental rights such as the individual right to asylum.”