Migrants take a shower on board Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms rescue boat in central Mediterranean Sea, Friday.
As a rise in migrant arrivals across the Western Mediterranean has intensified European concerns, EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos again called for European Union solidarity over the issue, warning that “purely national solutions lead to isolation.”
“We are trying to convince everyone to take in refugees. So far, some are not prepared to do so. But now solidarity is crucial,” the European comissioner for migration and home affairs told Germany’s Handelsblatt without naming any particular countries. The Greek official was speaking ahead of a visit to Madrid to announce emergency EU aid to support Spanish border guards in curbing irregular migration.
After praising Germany, France and the Netherlands for living up to European values in the wake of the refugee crisis in 2015, Avramopoulos said he would “try to convince all member-states to do the same.”
“Fair burden-sharing is very important and solidarity is a core value of the EU,” he said. “Politics should reflect our values, not our fears,” he added.
Avramopoulos expressed hope that the prospect of strengthened border protection – potentially with the deployment of Frontex guards along the EU’s external border – could persuade member-states to resolve their ongoing differences regarding the distribution of refugees and the enforcement of the so-called Dublin rules.
“We need a crisis-proof system in the EU that does not just place the burden on the shoulders of a few member-states,” he said.
In a dig at anti-immigrant eastern EU states, Avramopoulos said that “politicians should not only remember their moral responsibility, but also their historical responsibilities.”
“We know from the past that nationalism and hard borders can generate conflicts or even wars. Today’s populist narratives can become a dark cloud over our common future.”