UK must not wait for Brussels to do the right thing for refugees in the Mediterranean

Last updated May 27, 2015Press release

As the European Commission prepares to publish more detail today of its plans to deal with the crisis in the Mediterranean, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has reiterated publicly that the UK government intends to opt out of any EU quota for relocation and resettlement schemes.

It is thought the EC proposals will include an EU-wide scheme to resettle 20,000 refugees with clear protection needs from outside Europe, and relocate 40,000 who have arrived in Southern Europe to other European countries.

In response, Stephen Hale, Refugee Action’s chief executive, commented:

“Refugees facing grave danger cannot wait while our politicians wrangle. The UK must do the right thing, step up and voluntarily offer to resettle vulnerable people whose lives are at imminent risk.”

“The UK government continues to suggest EU resettlement quotas will act as a ‘pull-factor’ and encourage people to make the perilous journey across the sea. When will they start to focus on the ‘push-factors’, and acknowledge this is where the ultimate motivation lies?”

Stephen Hale added:

“Almost half of those who arrived to Europe by boat across the Med so far this year are Syrian or Eritrean. For them, it’s not about seeking a better life. It’s about having any life at all.”

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