MEP Márton Gyöngyösi’s (Non-attached) thoughts via press release:
The European Commission’s recently presented migration package hardly contains any breakthrough proposals. On the other hand, as I already said in the European Parliament’s plenary session, it does contain important elements that our community can rely on in the future.
The latest media reports on the NGO-operated “rescue boats” clearly show how the migration issue is still with us and waiting for a solution. Of course, the disputes once again brought certain extreme opinions to the surface: some say it is a fundamental right for anyone to come to Europe illegally, while the other side suggests to disregard even the most basic humanitarian considerations in this case.
It is this kind of highly politicized environment where the Commission’s package is trying to lay down a few basic principles.
Personally, I think it was time to do it, just like it is high time to clarify some uncertainties in terms of Europe’s migration policy, not least because it is a necessary step toward getting rid of the populist politicians who profit from fearmongering.
I think it’s very important to regulate the status of NGO-operated ships. There’s absolutely no question that we must save the lives of the people tossed about by the sea in mortal danger. On the other hand, we are fully aware that many NGOs are in cahoots with human traffickers. In fact, some of them even sail all the way to the African shores to “rescue” illegal immigrants, thus further increasing the pressure and encouraging migrants to risk the journey to Europe by sea. This is not a humanitarian action, this is organized crime.
However, there’s another thing we must all understand: when the Europe-bound migrants are already lining up on the seaside, it’s too late to provide anything but a superficial treatment of the symptoms. As a matter of fact, there’s no efficient border control and migration policy without involving the African and Asian governments.
It is a humanitarian as well as a practical interest for us to offer a perspective for the citizens of developing countries and help them to prosper at home instead of risking their lives on a hazardous journey to Europe.
We must also realize that we cannot use European money to support such governments that are secretly and sometimes quite openly in cahoots with human trafficking organizations. Let’s not beat around the bush: human traffickers are actual terrorists! What else can you call those who leave hundreds of people to their fate in the middle of the sea? There’s no dealing with terrorists. We must not yield to their blackmail, either.
The third key point is to develop Frontex into a full-scale joint European border control agency. We must realize that member states are no longer able to efficiently combat such a global phenomenon as illegal migration.
The solution is to integrate the member states’ border control units into a larger system where they could operate under a joint command.
I find it encouraging that Europe, after the blunders and naive ideas of the 2010, has realized that migration is a challenge we cannot tackle without recognizing the problem’s existence, addressing its root causes and protecting ourselves from its negative consequences.
Disclaimer: the sole liability for the opinions stated rests with the author(s). These opinions do not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Parliament.