President Tajani: Asylum reform stalemate is a gift to populists and Europhobes and must be overcome by majority voting
European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, emphasised the urgent need to overcome the impasse on asylum system reform through majority voting in his address to EU28 leaders at the European Council meeting on Thursday.
Following his speech, he stated:
“The stalemate on asylum system reform is a gift to populists and Europhobes. We must not be held hostage by consensus at all costs: we must vote by majority, as outlined in the Treaties.
“The opposition of EU Member States that do not want to receive asylum seekers must be overcome by offering alternatives. One could envisage the obligation to financially assist states that receive refugees and to contribute substantially to the fund that allows investment in Africa to curb migratory flows. By creating opportunities for Africans at home, we can manage the African continent’s demographic challenge, its projected population of 2.5 billion people by 2050.
“Thanks to European funds and EU-Niger cooperation we have reduced migration flows to Libya and Italy by more than 80% since 2016. The reception centre system that we financed in Niger works, but we need more resources and, above all, a mechanism for redistributing asylum seekers in the European Union. African and Balkan countries will not accept reception centres without a guarantee that those entitled to asylum will be redistributed among EU countries.
President Tajani also addressed the issue of the fight against disinformation and fake news, particularly in view of the upcoming European elections:
"We need immediate action to protect the European elections from cyber-attacks and interference. The time for action is now, before the next elections. We cannot stand idly by and let the right of our citizens to choose their elected representatives freely and in full knowledge of the facts be put in jeopardy.
With regard to the next budget, Tajani said:
"The European Parliament is calling for the Multiannual Financial Framework to be approved before the elections because we need to give citizens a clear vision of what is planned for the coming years. To meet the needs of Europeans, we need a budget equal to 1.3% of gross national income. We are of the opinion that the 1.1% proposed by the Commission is not enough. To go from 1.1% to 1.3% one can use own resources, which are a priority for the European Parliament.”
To read President Tajani’s speech in full, please click here.