Ursula von der Leyen calls for unity


The migrants tightly packed on a small inflatable boat attempt to cross the English Channel near Dover Strait, the world’s busiest shipping lane, on September 07, 2020.

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European countries should come together to address the issue of migration, the head of the European Commission said on Wednesday, telling member states that “saving lives at sea is not optional.”

In his State of the Union address on Wednesday, addressing the issue of migration, EU Commission Chairman Ursula von der Leyen said “migration is an issue that has been discussed for a long time.” He called for the 2015 migration crisis to come together to overcome “deep divisions” and help member states be the most “exposed” to migration.

“Countries that fulfill their legal and moral duties or are more exposed than others should be able to rely on the solidarity of others throughout our European Union,” she said.

The 2015 migration crisis to Europe saw hundreds of thousands of migrants, mainly from war-torn Syria, who attempt to reach Europe, often with tragic consequences.

The number of people attempting to make more crossings in five years remains elevated, although not nearly as high as in 2015. That year alone, according to the United Nations, an estimated 1 million migrants entered the European Union, anticipating around 4,000 people. Trying to reach Europe by sea has sunk.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) of the United Nations says that, so far this year, 48,529 migrants have arrived in Europe, mainly by sea. The number is significantly lower than in previous years with the coronavirus virus epidemic as a donor on migration; In January 2020, the IOM reported that 110,669 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2019, marking the sixth straight year that at least 100,000 arrivals were recorded on the three Mediterranean Sea routes.

The migration crisis in 2015 has healed “deep divisions” and “scars” (which still remain) within the block to date, “von der Leyen acknowledged Wednesday, to the challenges posed by migration to all Member States”. Called for “step up”.

European Commission Chairman Ursula von der Leyen made her speech in the first speech of the Union of 2020 on 16 September in Brussels, Belgium.

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Many countries in Eastern Europe closed the borders and refused to accept the quota of EU migrants, as they prepared a migrant resettlement plan to provide relief to countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy, where most expatriates came, And still do, to date, many migrant camps, or reception centers, are located in southern Europe, while their asylum claims are processed.

Tempers have crowded both reception centers, which can be crowded and unitary and within the towns and islands (including the Greek islands, Sicily and Malta) where the centers are mainly located. The lack of progress and solidarity on the issue of migrants has also frustrated local people and governments.

The thorny issue of migrant camps came to light last week after a fire broke out through the Moria Reception and Identification Center in Lesbos.

The fire left 12,000 migrants and refugees homeless, including an estimated 4,000 children, with the United Nations saying it called on EU states to urgently work to “evacuate the islands and aid Greece”.

The Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, is about to launch a long-awaited migration agreement next week, with the expected emphasis to prevent it from entering the European Union, according to the European Union observer.

Migration charities and NGOs like Human Rights Watch are already warning the European Union that its policies have to focus on human rights.

“The European Commission must ensure that its new ‘Pact on Migration and Asylum’, to be held on 23 September, reflects the true lessons learned from the devastation and human suffering on Lesbos. The Commission and EU member states respect human Should be committed to the border government. Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday that the right to dignity and asylum while ensuring the fair distribution of responsibility among EU member states.

moral dilemmas

Pointing to the European Union’s direction on migration, von der Leyen said that there should be a clear distinction between migrants “who have the right to live, and those who do not” and the commission will take steps to deal with smugglers. Will strengthen external borders, deepen external participation and “to ensure that those who have the right to live are integrated and welcome.”

Federico Soda, migration expert and head of the IOM of the Mission in Libya, a country that sees hundreds of migrants attempting to make the sea route to Europe, rather than solving the migration situation around Europe ” Inactive “.

Syrian irregular migrant families, whose boats were flooded, were stranded on the islet after the rescue, while they were trying to reach the banks of the Avaros River in Adiran, Turkey on February 29, 2020.

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Soda said, “If you measure it in terms of people reaching their limits then the crisis’ has passed”, but if you measure it in terms of people dying, suffering and mistreatment, it’s somehow Not passed and if you see. Politically, in the context of the European Union, I do not think it has passed in any way. ”

“On behalf of the European Union, you have to see what progress has been made within the Union to develop adequate policies for these kinds of population movements that will inevitably (continue),” he said.

“Even so, the main countries that are suffering the brunt of these arrivals are very dissatisfied with the response from the rest of most European member states … it has been brushed, put aside, but it Not resolved in any way. ”

Soda said Europe now needs to address migration and asylum policies, as well as work to address disparities with other countries and between countries – which is migration, which they acknowledged was “a long period. Was a process of. ”

“Europe’s view at the moment is that its borders are closed and we don’t think it’s sustainable … You don’t have to be a genius to find out that the geography of the European continent is going to come to the people and be an irregular , Knocking on its door in an unspecified way. And it is the South (of Europe), but it may happen in the future in the East. And the reality is that within the EU these issues are still very, very big political It’s stress. “

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