A North West MEP has condemned David Cameron’s refusal to take in a single refugee under the proposed EU quota, saying we have a ‘moral duty’ to act.
Theresa Griffin MEP has said that it will take all 28 Member States to act on an EU-wide solution to end the refugee crisis – the ‘worst humanitarian crisis Europe has seen since the Second World War’.
The UK home secretary Theresa May is attending an EU interior ministers meeting in Brussels today to discuss the worsening migrant crisis, which has seen an estimated 380,000 people travel to Europe for refuge this year.
Under EU law, the UK are exempt from the proposed scheme requesting for the resettlement of refugees based on a set of criteria, unless they want to take part.
The UK have so far claimed that no plans have been made on accepting more refugees than they have already proposed, but Ms. May is expected to be put under pressure to receive more at today’s summit.
Ms. Griffin believes that we are in ‘unprecedented’ times and it will require a fresh European approach if we want to achieve anything.
She said: “More than 2,000 people have died so far this year trying to make the crossing into Europe while up to 200,000 others have been rescued.
“The numbers keep adding up, creating a worsening refugee crisis in Europe that is testing the EU’s ability to act collectively.
“What is happening at the moment is unprecedented and will require a completely new European approach, something that can only be achieved if all 28 Member States, including the UK, come together and agree on a plan of action. No one Member State can do this alone, nor should they have to.
“Working together, the EU can provide safety and protection to those in need, but this crisis is also an opportunity, a chance to demonstrate European cooperation, what we can achieve together and how effective we are as a bloc.
“I am proud to be the North West MEP, with a cross-party group of my fellow MEPs from the rest of the UK, who has written to David Cameron condemning his government’s refusal to take even a single refugee under the proposed European scheme.
“We have a moral duty to act; we must help these people fleeing torture and persecution. EU governments cannot allow the current chaos and tragedy to continue.”
The EU quotas are aimed at alleviating pressure from Member States most affected – notably Greece, Italy and Hungary – by proposing to relocate 120,000 refugees.
This, on top of the 40,000 that the European Commission proposed in May to relocate from Greece and Italy.
The quota system will divide the refugees to member states based on population, gross domestic product, average number of asylum applications and ratio of refugees to one million inhabitants, as well as the unemployment rate in the country.
Central European countries – who have sought to minimise the number they host – the Baltic states and Spain have rejected the proposed quotas.
While the UK, Ireland and Denmark are exempt from the scheme, unless they wish to take part.
The UK government have announced plans to take 4,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years.
But this is described by former foreign secretary David Miliband as the equivalent of the number of migrants arriving on the beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos every day.
Ms. Griffin added however that she is proud of the North West after their response to the crisis.
“We have all seen the deeply distressing news coverage – the images of bodies washed ashore and the stories of people suffocated to death in the back of smugglers’ lorries,” she said.
“What is happening now, right now, even as you read this, is the worst humanitarian crisis to hit Europe since the Second World War.
“Looking at the response of people in the North West, and the hundreds of emails I have received from constituents, and the rest of England, I am truly proud to be British.
“Irrespective to the response of the British Government, the British people have spoken out and pledged their help to those who need it.”
Image courtesy of Theresa Griffin MEP via. YouTube, with thanks.