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  • on 25.06.2015
  • at 12:03 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Fortress Europe Creaking at the Seams 0

With EU leaders today in Brussels for a summit on the Greek financial crisis, it is easy to forget that they are also here to discuss another Greek crisis: one of migration. Along with its Mediterranean neighbours Italy and Malta, Greece is the arrival point in Europe for thousands of African migrants. An Amnesty International press statement released today states that a fact-finding mission in Greece shows how “poor planning, ineffective use of EU funds, and a hiring freeze has left Greek authorities incapable of meeting the needs and protecting the rights of refugees”.

However, although the crisis shows no signs of stopping, European leaders remain divided over how to react. Whilst Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the Guardian calls for an EU-wide migration plan so that Europe is “a beacon of civilization, not a wall of fear”, Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, strikes a very different tone with The Irish Times reporting her belief that a return policy must play a role in the response to the crisis and that people should be sent back to their home countries so that they see no benefit in risking the Mediterranean crossing.

Yet while the EU bickering may continue, the humanitarian situation in Greece continues to worsen and requires concerted actions if it is to improve. Although Amnesty views the “European Commission’s proposal for an EU wide resettlement scheme” as a good idea, it decries its limited scope and says it is not near ambitious enough to act as “an adequate response to the global refugee crisis”. Amnesty thus calls on EU Member States to “to support at a minimum the European Resettlement Scheme for 20,000 refugees, on top of existing national schemes. In addition, humanitarian admissions and visas for people in need of international protection should be increased, and family reunification for refugees facilitated”.

Europe was once a place where thousands of refugees fled their homelands in hope of finding safety and security. Let us hope then that Europe remembers its own history and acts to help the men, women and children fleeing Africa in search of a better life.

by Kevin Hind – Afronline.org

Click Here to read Amnesty International’s statement

Photo credit: Flickr/Karim Haddad

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