Last week, Peter van Dalen MEP visited Calais and the Eurotunnel to investigate the current problematic situation. Van Dalen met customs officers, truck drivers and others involved with this issue. "The problems in Calais are taking too long. For many years asylum seekers are trying to reach the United Kingdom through the Eurotunnel. The situation has led to traffic jams, intimidation, violence and most sadly, human tragedy. This cannot go on any longer, a solution has to be provided."
Van Dalen calls on Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to find this solution during the next EU Presidency of the Dutch government. Van Dalen suggests that Rutte facilitates a meeting with the French, English and Polish governments, as well as Luxemburg which is holding the current EU Presidency and European Commission President Juncker. The plea of Van Dalen to act more on this issue is very much in line with the EU reforms that ECPM will present during its General Assembly on the first of December.
The European Union is spending a lot of time and resources on many minor issues that could be solved by the Member States itself. However, it often fails to act efffectively when called to solve problems that are clearly European and cross-border. The Calais situation is a problem that is part of the problem that is caused by illegal immigration. Southern European countries are suffering from these problems as well, however there is virtually no decisive leadership from the EU on this issue.
ECPM believes that the EU should regulate less but facilitate more and especially take leadership on issues that are clearly cross-border. Instead, we see an EU that wants to regulate too much national legislation that is not really addressing any actual problem.
ECPM members accepted a resolution on the problems of illegal immigration last May in Seeon, Germany already:
The ECPM calls on the European Parliament to:
- Support Member States to forcefully track, prosecute and detain human traffickers and dismantle the structures that are used by them.
- Establish cooperation between the EU and African countries and African NGO’s to collect, analyse and disseminate information on migration flows coming from Africa.
- Provide information to discourage the potential immigrants for coming to Europe. The right information about life in Europe and difficulties of the trip should be passed directly into the local villages and communities.
The ECPM calls on the EU Member States to:
Address the lack of a common immigration policy across Europe which has imposed a burden on the Southern European countries that are on the front line of illegal immigration from Africa.