Measures to deal with the refugee situation, as agreed by heads of state at an informal EU summit on 23 September, will be debated with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today. The humanitarian situation of refugees within the EU and in neighbouring countries will also be addressed by MEPs in a separate debate.
At an informal summit on 23 September, EU leaders discussed ways to respond to the urgent needs of refugees in the region, including providing an additional €1 billion to help the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme, increasing EU funds to help Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and strengthening controls at the EU’s external borders.
Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP, said ahead of the debate:
‘What we need to see today is the will and commitment to operationalise this: for example, hiring interpreters and working in partnership with civil society, because while funding is clearly needed it must be allocated effectively. It is truly shocking that almost every EU country has scaled back such support in the last year. The UK should be ambitious about the number of people we can accept and so far the Government has been wrong-footed every step of the way through this crisis, it’s time to get on the front foot and prepare to meet our humanitarian and legal obligations.’