“Europe is in the centre of a migration and asylum cauldron,” said PACE President Anne Brasseur at the end of a weeklong mission to New York where she spoke at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, met with Speakers of Parliaments, senior UN diplomats and officials and international NGOs.
“Each day more and more ingredients are being added to this melting pot of human suffering, and Europe can no longer bury its head and humanity in the sand,” Ms Brasseur said.
“In New York during my meetings I was met with polite incredulity at the lack of an organised European response to the 300,000 refugees arriving and travelling through Europe. Yes, this is a significant number, but no this is not an insurmountable figure for a continent as large and wealthy as Europe,” Ms Brasseur added. “I met with the Speaker of the Jordanian Parliament who told me his small country was hosting over 600,000 refugees from Syria and Palestine. I wonder who should feel most proud of their efforts, Europe or Jordan?
Other interlocutors asked me whether Hungary and its European partners had forgotten how, in 1956, 200,000 people had fled Hungary and received asylum elsewhere? Even in my meetings with the European diplomatic community I could sense a frustration in defending a common rear-guard action on a glass half empty European response to the current refugee crisis and migration phenomenon,” Ms Brasseur concluded.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, meeting from 28 September to 2 October, will put the European refugees crisis and migration phenomenon high on its agenda. It will have debates on the crisis, the need for reform of the Dublin Regulations and the challenges facing transit countries. President Brasseur will also bring together the Heads of the National Parliamentary Delegations in order to discuss how to ensure the issue is debated in national parliaments, including in the relevant parliamentary committees.