PRESS Rel: It’s time for Enhanced Cooperation to save both Refugees and Schengen!

Brussels, 15th September 2015

We strongly condemn the lack of results of yesterdays’ Justice and Home Affairs Ministers meeting in Brussels where, once again, representatives from EU Member States demonstrated their incapacity to take collective action in times of crisis.

It was April 19th when more than 800 refugees died in the Mediterranean. One month later, on May 27, the Commission proposed the compulsory relocation of 40.000 refugees, which Member states refused on July 20, accepting only to relocate 32.256 through a non-compulsory mechanism, which never delivered. Five months after the death of those 800 refugees, our “leaders” finally accepted a softened version of the proposal made by the Commission several months ago. In the meantime, hundreds more children, women and men have died trying to reach Europe.


“The current crisis is showing dramatically once again that the present structure of the European Union is not able to tackle today’s challenges in an effective and timely manner. This was the case for the Eurozone debt crisis and is now the case for the refugees crisis. The problem remains the selfishness and short-sightedness of the governments of some EU member states and the principle of consensus, which is required for decisions to be made in too many policy areas argued Pietro De Matteis, President of the European Federalist Party. We must move towards a federal-core of European countries in which those who want to act collectively are able to decide in a much quicker way through majority voting in any policy area” he continued.

The EU is a project based on solidarity and on the sharing of key principles of respect of human rights and democracy. Blocking collective decisions and adopting unilateral measures from a short-term and short-sighted national perspective is endangering the long-term right of all European citizens to free movement by questioning the Schengen Treaty. It is also denying basic human rights to asylum seekers, who in some countries are welcomed with a smile, while in others with razor-fences.

“If a handful of countries (i.e. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) continue to block the EU from taking the necessary steps to end the current refugee emergency and continue to disregard those principles that are at the heart of the European project we must consider the development of an Enhanced Cooperation scheme among those willing to take on their responsibilities. Also, we may need to consider measures to support the countries taking part in the Enhanced Cooperation through more EU structural funds and by ensuring that the freedom of movement of their citizens is preserved and reinforced. Solidarity cannot be a one way street” pointed out Pietro De Matteis.


More in detail, with regard to the current refugees crisis, we ask that the following measures be put in place:

  • Direct management by the EU of reception centres in border countries for the initial registration of asylum seekers and their relocation to other countries by secure and humane means;
  • An emergency relocation mechanism for asylum seekers and a permanent, compulsory relocation scheme;
  • European funds to be allocated to countries welcoming refugees and development of policies supporting the refugees’ positive integration into European society;
  • A common European asylum policy and a new approach to managing legal migration;
  • Better management of external borders: reinforcement of Frontex and creation of a European coastguard and border guard system;
  • Reinforcement of European intelligence cooperation and a new, operational mandate for Europol;
  • Tackling the root causes that are pushing refugees to leave their homes by promoting development and security in their countries of origin.


Many of the proposals listed above are included in the initiative which the European Federalist Party is strongly supporting in partnership with organisations across Europe.



About the European Federalist Party

The European Federalist Party (EFP) is the only, truly pan-European political party campaigning for a more democratic and federal Europe. The EFP was founded in 2011 by citizens from all over Europe and has since developed into a cross-border movement that ran for the last European Parliament elections in six countries defending the same pan-European programme voted by its members at the 2013 EFP Federal Convention. The EFP contributed to the introduction of several pieces of European legislation including the European Citizens’ Initiative and the EU roaming regulation.

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