The MEP and leader of PES Sergei Stanishev opened conference on “Policies on refugees, based on solidarity” yesterday, organized by Foundation for European Progressive Studies in Brussels.

“We need to develop a common action plan for the EU to cope with the increasing migration flows. Last year more than 400 000 people applied for international protection in the EU, which is 30% more than in 2012″ – Stanishev said. “We all remember the tragedy of the coast of Lampedusa, when 300 people lost their lives. This case once again proves the need for safe access to the EU asylum procedures. To ensure that all procedures must respect human rights, including the rights of liberty and security of an individual. This is not Maltese, Greek, Italian or Bulgarian problem. This is a matter of European solidarity with the people who seek protection within the member states.”


Stanishev admitted that the member states of the EU alone cannot solve the problem, nor Europe can accept all, but must take its responsibility as the richest continent. “Two main directions we must work on, are the prevention and integration of the refugees” – Stanishev underlined. He explained that cooperation with third countries is essential. “The mobility and legal migration to the EU should be promoted, but also the support for development of the states from which migrants come, through improving their standard of living. The EU should focus on promoting democracy through development cooperation and support for political pluralism, parliamentary democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.”


“Migration creates challenges, but also offers many opportunities to enrich our continent from cultural, economic and social aspects. Migrants can play crucial role in the revitalization of the economy in an aging Europe.” – he added.

Finally Stanishev turned to a particularly hot issue in Europe, which is the rising xenophobic attitudes which are gaining ground and representation at political level. “As always, the main scapegoat are the foreigners and the different ones. Europe does not need this. We want Europe, which offers protection to those whose lives are in danger. Europe which provides them with legitimate asylum procedures for refuge and seeks to integrate them fully into the society”.