European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Tuesday the proposals of European Council President Donald Tusk on migration, included in a letter issued for the EU leaders’ summit later this week are “unacceptable” and “anti-European”.
“My position is very clear. The paper prepared by […] Tusk is unacceptable. It is anti-European and it ignores all the work we have done during the past years,” Avramopoulos said during a press briefing at Strasbourg.
He said the role of the president of the European Council is to defend the European unity and its principles. “This paper is undermining one of the main pillars of the European project: the principle of solidarity. Europe without solidarity cannot exist. Our success in managing migration cannot be attributed to individual member-states. These are European successes which are the result as I’ve said before, of our joint actions and efforts of the European institutions, its agencies, and member-states,” he said.
The EU should not oppose the protection of its external borders and its duty to protect refugees, he added. “It is a moral and legal duty to protect refugees. We are not building and it will never happen, a fortress Europe. So I firmly disagree with the statement that relocation as an emergency response has been ineffective.”
Over 32,000 people have been relocated so far, Avramopoulos said, which is over 90 percent of all those who were qualified as eligible.
“Solidarity cannot be cherry-picked. There is no solidarity a la carte. I am glad that the European Commission’s contribution to the leaders’ meeting adopted last week was ell-received by all member-states. We have to forge our unity, to stick together, not to fuel anti-European positions.”
In a paper issued earlier for EU leaders, Tusk told leaders that the mandatory quotas proposed by the Commission under its asylum reforms, are both “highly divisive”, has received “disproportionate attention in light of its impact on the ground” and is has “turned out to be ineffective.”