‘Fortress Europe is no solution to migrant flows’ – MEP says

“Faced with the atrocities committed in certain parts of the world, we must play our part in worldwide solidarity,” said Co-President Louis Michel (ALDE, BE) at the opening of the 30th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Brussels on Monday. “‘Fortress Europe’ is not a solution and is unworthy of the humanist values that Europe defends”, he insisted, adding that it must “shoulder its duty of humanity towards refugees fleeing war, violence or dictatorship”.

“Gurus of selfishness who flatter fears with simplistic speeches (…) dishonour what Europe has stood for in the eyes of the world for decades , an area of tolerance, prosperity and shared dreams”, said ACP-EU JPA Co-President Louis Michel.

“We shall of course have to organise the reception of economic and climate migrants too” and “we shall have to organise circular migration too”, he continued.

“This is a question to us all, which underlines the imperative need to give local prospects to countries of origin, for example by tackling poverty, as well as local solutions to armed conflicts.”

“Terrorism knows no frontiers. It necessitates worldwide governance”, stressed Michel. It is a “worldwide phenomenon, whose spectre haunts the African continent. (…) If we do not give the African authorities the means to run an effective and lasting counter-terrorism policy, we risk not only seeing a ‘terrorist arc’ being consolidated from Mauritania to Nigeria and stretching to the Horn of Africa, but also an area of impunity for smugglers from anywhere in the world”, he warned.

Mars di Bartolomeo, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg, which is chairing the EU Council said that “far away victims are worth no less than our victims”, and that the role of politicians “cannot be limited to putting out fires or wildfires”, but must tackle root causes including those of terrorism.

Di Bartolomeo also urged that the “promises and undertakings,” given in Addis-Ababa and New York on funding for development policies must be respected.

In the context of COP21 climate change conference under way in Paris, which will be debated by the JPA, JPA Co-President Fitz A. Jackson (Jamaica) said: “Historically, economic development has been strongly correlated with increasing energy use and growth of greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy can help decouple that correlation, contributing to sustainable development”. However, “investments in renewable energies will require a lot of financial support and technological transfer if developing countries are not to make the same mistakes in their pursuit of development and poverty reduction”, he added.

40 years of ACP-EU cooperation

Jackson noted that 2015 marks “40 years of ACP-EU cooperation since the signing of the first Lomé Convention in 1975”. “This partnership should not only be measured in terms of statistics, but in the solidarity that it has helped to build among peoples of the South and those of the North”, he said, stressing that in the post-Cotonou framework, “preserving the assemblage of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific must be non-negotiable.”

“We must resist any attempt, however subtle or discreet, to separate the A – C – P,” he said, appealing to MEPs to act “in solidarity” against any tendencies “to divide and rule Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific”. In his speech, he also regretted that “there is no single institution the global level tasked with ensuring the mutual supportiveness of the international trade regime with sustainable development.”

30th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly

The Assembly will vote on Wednesday 9 December on three resolutions:

Forty years of partnership: evaluation of the impact on trade and development in the ACP countries and prospects for enduring relations between the ACP countries and the European Union (debate Monday, co-rapporteurs: Jacob Oulanyah (Uganda) and David Martin),

Evaluation of the African Peace Facility after ten years: effectiveness and prospects for the future (debate Tuesday, co-rapporteurs: Kombo Gberi (Cameroon) and Mariya Gabriel), and

How to improve economic and social conditions in developing countries, including the contribution of family businesses, in order to prevent health disasters (co-rapporteurs: Ibrahim R. Bundu (Sierra Leone) and Arne Gericke).