One of the most important issues to EU citizens over the past couple of years has been migration — in particular, uncontrolled migration coming mostly from the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood and beyond. Several people have commented, for example, about Chancellor Merkel’s decision in 2015 to welcome migrants into Germany. Many fellow citizens have expressed to us in very clear terms their concerns that recent migration waves are putting at risk the security of Europe itself — even as some have also highlighted the EU’s ongoing need to help genuine refugees.
Ryan, for example, captures both sentiments: "Children washing up on our shores is unacceptable & WE as the Civilised people we are supposed to be, should be trying to help refugees not treating them as Guilty people before we know anything about them… I'm all for our massive family but if we do not recognise our own people’s concerns what hope have we got?"
Apostolos warns, in a similar vein, that "the outer borders of Europe are not really the outer borders of Europe", while Mike says we must "control the external borders. Stop inviting those who hate us. Respect indigenous European cultures. Discern refugees from migrants. Your approach is helping the rise of the extreme right." Philip argues that "Most already aren’t refugees and we can’t possibly take in all legitimate refugees that want to come. Don’t try to argue we need the young workers while millions of southern Europeans are unemployed." Declan, Franz, Beatnik, Jurriaan, Donald and Marion have expressed to us similar concerns.
We as the EPP have spent a lot of time working on these issues. And we have delivered. We led the way, for example, in supporting the creation of an EU border and coast guard system (Frontex) and in supporting the EU's agreement with Turkey in 2016 to limit the flow of undocumented migrants.
We have called for deeper cooperation with other EU Neighbourhood countries as well, including via exchange programmes and initiatives to strengthen civil society, entrepreneurship and investment. As we wrote in our 2017 EPP Malta Congress resolution entitled "Preventing illegal migration to Europe", "Those who cross EU borders illegally should be returned to asylum and migration centres in third countries, operated by the EU together with UNHCR. The EU should provide financial and technological support to those irregular migrants’ countries of origin which are willing to help in the return policy, with the aim of facilitating job creation in these countries."
For more info on our EPP position on the many challenges associated with migration, please also have a look at the following 2017 EPP Malta Congress resolutions: