Calais, August 31, 2015
Extracted of the Conference of the First Vice-president Timmermans, of the European commission.
“Acting humanely to those who need our protection”, “showing solidarity along with responsibility for European countries”, “being firm in enacting our joint rules in the EU”: these are the tasks that Frans Timmermans, first deputy president of the European Commission, listed in Calais today during his visit, in which he was escorted by Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls. Timmermans spoke of the need for “joint, firm action” to address the situation of the flows of migrants that cross Calais in the attempt to reach Great Britain and that is a “symptom” of “a European crisis, which needs a European response”, made of “lasting, brave solutions”. As written in the release issued after his visit, the EU Commission also supported the “effective initiatives” jointly agreed upon by the French and British authorities, “in particular the commitment to implement extra measures to fight the criminal networks of people smugglers who exploit migrants, outline a quick procedure to review asylum applications” to protect the most vulnerable ones better, and “to repatriate those migrants who are not entitled to stay” in the EU.
As he commented on the decision taken by the EU Commission in early August about allocating a 5.2 million euros’ “emergency fund” to “reduce pressure on Calais and provide humanitarian assistance to migrants”, from Calais Migration Commissioner Avramopoulos stated that this “shows, once again, that Europe can put solidarity in practice”. Such money will be spent to respond to the needs of the about 1,500 illegal immigrants that are currently crashing in the area of the French port city, mostly around the “Jules Ferry” day shelter (co-funded by the EU with 3.8 million euros in 2014), as well as paying for taking the asylum seekers somewhere else in France. Avramopoulos claimed that however “more should be done to meet the emergency”, along the lines of the Commission’s proposals. As to this, the Commissioner “congratulated” Luxembourg’s presidency on its decision to convene a special meeting of the Ministries of Justice and Home Affairs on September 14th: according to Avramopoulos, “it will be an opportunity to discuss the next measures to be taken and implemented to solve the migration crisis together”, in the light of the common recommendations of the European Agenda on Migration adopted by the European Council last April. Agence SIR