MEPs in the European Parliament were debating, April 4, the refugee and migrant movements and the role of EU External Action — the EU's Foreign & Security Policy Service led by High Representative Federica Mogherini.
Its latest report said the EU is "witnessing an unprecedented level of human mobility, and stresses that the international community must urgently undertake the strengthening of a common response to address the challenges and opportunities that this phenomenon represents."
"[The report] stresses that this response must be founded on the principle of solidarity and should not focus only on a security-based approach, but be guided by the full protection of the rights and dignity of everyone forced by any circumstance to leave their homes in search of a better and safer life."
@HoomanNassimi We are very clear calling on Member States to act together European and in solidarity for relocation & fair distribution of refugees…— Gianni Pittella (@giannipittella) 4 April 2017
However the report was branded "disastrous and hypocritical" by the European United Left — Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) Group.
"The report authored by MEPs from Spain's PSOE and PP seek to rebrand the image of Europe away from being cruel and inhumane but it ends up doing quite the opposite. The report calls for safe and legal routes and humanitarian visas for migrant and refugees. At the same time, the report calls for deportation, the militarization of the Mediterranean, NATO intervention and the outsourcing of borders," said Marina Albiol MEP.
"A year on from the EU-Turkey agreement — which lead to over 5000 deaths in the Mediterranean — the EU is negotiating agreements with Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Nigeria to deport migrants and refugees while blackmailing them with humanitarian aid. The government of Spain is negotiating a similar agreement with Morocco to deport minors," she said.
The EU-Turkey migrant deal is supposed to allow for the return of migrants refused asylum — or not claiming it — in Greece to Turkey. But this was contingent on accelerating Turkish accession into the EU. However, it has already stumble over human rights issues and a clampdown by Erdogan on the opposition and the media — especially following the attempted coup, July 2016.
"We do not simply express 'concern' about the agreement between Turkey and the EU; we reject it completely and unambiguously. There are now calls for NATO's intervention to stem the flow of migrants. This 'Fortress Europe' approach is the political fuel that is giving rise to the far-right in Europe," said Miguel Urban MEP.
"While thousands of people continue to die in the Mediterranean, the EU is criminalizing the work of NGOs rescuing people at sea where they do not dare to go. The EU must change its 2002 directive that criminalizes humanitarian aid. We refuse to become accomplices by act or omission to a 'Fortress Europe'," he added.