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Press Release

European Parliament President Speech at High-Level Conference on Migration Management

President Tajani delivered the opening address of a high-level conference on managing migratory flows at the European Parliament today.

Here are some highlights of President Tajani’s speech (check against delivery):

“Shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, corpses in the desert, abandoned children - these images have become all too familiar.”

“Our citizens see ever growing numbers of asylum seekers clamour to be let into the European Union, as streams of boats bring more and more desperate people to our shores. They are torn between feeling of anger, fear, anguish and pity.”

“The task of coming up with real answers cannot be put off any longer. The results of recent elections, which have pointed to an upsurge in support for the EU, offer an opportunity to build on renewed public trust which we must not waste.”

A budget which matches citizens’ priorities - It is time for a paradigm shift

“The EU budget must reflect that managing migration is at the top of our list of issues.

If we are to change Europe and make it more effective and more credible, we must have the resources to meet challenges that can be overcome only by working together.”

“It is time for a paradigm shift: first we must set political objectives - to address the concerns of our citizens - and on that basis allocate the resources required.”

Reform of the asylum system - The current system of burden sharing has failed

“The right of asylum, solidarity and the obligation to save human lives form part of our founding values.  That does not mean that we should not take firm steps to combat illegal immigration.”

“The current system of burden sharing has failed. It is deeply unfair that a small number of Member States should be left to shoulder this responsibility. This is why we want to replace the current framework directives with regulations that lay down the same rules for everyone.”

Border management - We must do more than just contain emergencies

“But that is not enough. In the years ahead, we could face migration on an even greater scale, particularly from sub-Saharan Africa. It has many causes: desertification linked to climate change, famine, population growth, poverty, terrorism and instability. A serious response calls for a European strategy which goes to the root of the problems. We must do more than just contain emergencies, we must act on a range of fronts.”

“We must step up external border controls, which will mean providing the European Border and Coast Guard Agency with the resources it needs to do its job. At the same time, we must foster development in Africa.”

A new partnership with Africa - More than ever, our interests are linked with one another

“It is in our vital interest to build a new partnership with Africa which focuses not only on the challenges, but also on the major opportunities for growth on that continent.”

“More than ever, Africa’s and Europe’s interests linked with one another. We are friends, we share languages and cultures. We must work as equals, and we must look at Africa through African eyes.”  

“Robust economic, cultural and academic diplomacy is needed. Increased investment in infrastructure, technology transfers, efficient use of resources and the sharing of industrial know-how are essential. We must work together to foster training and lawful mobility, the Erasmus Mundi programme and exchange schemes for African students, researchers and workers.”


“On 25 March, in Rome, the leaders of the EU institutions and the Heads of State or Government of twenty-seven countries signed a Solemn Declaration to revitalise political Europe. One of the priorities Europe’s leaders said should be addressed without delay was immigration.”

“In my speech to the opening session of the Summit I will put your message across: the time has come to make decisions, to come up with the answers which our citizens expect from a Union that is strong enough to protect them and assert its values.”

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