As the Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament, as a responsible European politician, you should also be aware of the fact that the continent, including our integrated community, has been facing the toughest, most trying challenges in recent weeks and months. Our daily lives have been superseded by a new type of coronavirus epidemic. As a result, the whole of Europe, and every country, nation-state, needs to rethink the government programs and economic concepts for the secure future of its citizens. As a citizen of Spain, with the experience of the particular hardship of your country that has garnered our attention in solidarity, you are certainly aware of the seriousness of the current situation, and, consequently, of the responsibility of all sober, active and mindful European citizens.
Allow me, however, to make a critical but well-intentioned statement about one of your recent declarations showing that, apparently, you have not comprehended the main context of the current crisis yet, including the resulting priorities. Let us ask the question: as responsible European citizens, what is your or our main task in such a situation, and whose protection and support is our primary task and duty? The short answer is that now our goal and task is to protect the people of Europe, the citizens of our country, to provide them with care and support, and to free them from external and unnecessary extra burdens and challenges – to preserve the local economy, keep the jobs and create new ones at home, and most importantly, protect our elderly, vulnerable compatriots! This is the task of Europe today.
However, in this new crisis, you have spoken for the instruments of the clearly failed migration policy of the European Union, raising the idea of distributing asylum seekers and migrants again, which was rejected in a document a few years ago. You stated on 27 April 2020 that the European Union should draw up a plan supported by financial resources to rescue migrants “most exposed to human rights abuses” from Libya, and then, in your opinion, they would need to be distributed amongst Member States. Just a reminder: the 2015 allocation quota has ended in abject failure, since the European Union Member States have barely completed one third of the transfers undertaken, and your country, Spain, for example, only 13.6 percent! What kind of migrant placement obligation can we talk about after this, especially at a time when a dangerous epidemic is claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across Europe?
You brought forward the above proposal as the chair of the Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, in the videoconference debate of the commission, chaired by you, on the situation of the migration route in Libya and the Mediterranean, emphasizing also that the search for and rescue of migrants at sea is an international obligation that all EU Member States must comply with.
This time, you are wrong! Rather, the main humanitarian duty of the European Union as an international legal entity would be to ensure that its leaders do not encourage migrants and asylum seekers irresponsibly again to embark on an adventurous journey, in which case a real crisis that happened between 2014 and 2018 cannot occur – when more than twenty thousand people, migrants lost their lives in the Mediterranean! Those coming from a safe country of origin or transit should be returned to the states concerned as soon as possible, also in their own interest.
Today, also due to the inertia and weak, reluctant attitude of the European Union, the Balkan countries outside the Schengen area are under the burden of a trying time for the soul; each state in the Balkans have already closed their own borders, migrants have been accommodated in closed camps, and those infected with the coronavirus are screened. Today, curbing and preventing international movement, migration, and keeping it under constant control is one of the key elements in managing the epidemic crisis (preventing its spread). Therefore, any encouragement of migration or raising the idea of distribution is seriously irresponsible, and regarding this issue, we, as responsible European citizens, as a patriotic intellectual civil society, have an obligation to draw the attention of the general public.
Liberals, greens, the so-called progressive leftists and their paid experts, analysts, but, unfortunately, many employers and economic actors as well, especially in Western Europe or the US, encourage many low-skilled foreigners for illegal migration to European countries and American cities. But these migrants are now severely and more easily affected by the coronavirus, epidemic diseases, because they have to live in densely populated, close communities due to low wages or bad conditions, and there are poor public health conditions in their home countries. Thus, the disease spreads rapidly among vulnerable people living in poor housing and rental conditions, or typically without a secure shelter, ranging from Africa to Latin America.
Therefore, instead of wishful thinking to distribute migrants, Europe should provide the healthcare capacity, the help of the civil society, and the strengthening of Community aid for its own citizens, and it should prevent a European epidemiological catastrophe, a real humanitarian crisis within the European Union. Asylum seekers must be rescued from the imminent danger to life in such a way that the bodies responsible for protecting the Mediterranean coast can fulfil their primary responsibility: the securing of the EU’s external borders while also protecting the citizens of Europe!
Based on the above, there is a need to further curb migration and, where necessary, gather illegal migrants in camps and screen for coronavirus, otherwise the situation in Europe may only worsen. Mr Chair, we ask you to withdraw the bad idea of the “evacuation” of migrants from Libya and the distribution of asylum seekers, migrants, which is particularly absurd in the current situation. Instead of immigration, help should be provided locally, as additional serious infections can be introduced by migrants, exacerbating the epidemic crisis in Europe. And the main duty is the recovery of Europe!
We all, civilians and national governments, citizens and responsible leaders, shall join forces to fight the epidemic! Let us defend and relaunch Europe together!