The EU’s new reforms on migration are helpful, but only provide “assistance without solutions”, according to one activist.
Several EU states most affected by the influx of migrants such as Italy and Germany reached a breakthrough agreement yesterday after years-long negotiations on how to deal with the migration surge.
They agreed countries that receive high number of migrants would be able to ask for assistance from other EU states, such as offering financial aid, helping with processing asylum claims or taking in some of the migrants themselves.
Former Integration Manager with the Immigrant Council of Ireland Teresa Buczkowska said the agreement tries to create “mandatory solidarity”.
“Solidarity is something civil society has been calling for for years and it took the European Commission 10 years to make an agreement about that,” she told Newstalk Breakfast.
Despite that, Ms Buczkowska said the agreement “doesn’t show a lot of confidence” in addressing migration in the long-term.
“Any support is better than no support, but this is very short-term support,” she said.
“We need a legal channel for people to cross borders, so they don’t have to go on this dangerous journey at sea where they are dying.”
She pointed out figures that show over 20,000 people have died at sea while seeking refuge in the last 10 years.
“Safe crossing channels are the best,” she said.
“What we need is a long-term strategy that is based on policy change and not a short-term solution that are only going to provide assistance without solutions.”
Ms Buczkowska also said there are opportunities for countries to take advantage of the new agreement without helping refugees.
“Given the options countries have, most unfortunately will choose other forms of solidarity and not relocation, whereas relocation would be the preferable solution,” she said.
“Those countries on the borderline like Italy and Greece are experiencing extreme pressure because of this situation.
“But unfortunately, some countries will choose payment instead of relocation.”
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