Statement of the European Commission following the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council

Yesterday EU Interior Ministers offered their support for the comprehensive agenda the Commission put forth in May and September to address the refugee crisis. Member States agreed to express their solidarity with one another by deciding to relocate 40,000 refugees throughout the EU, based on the European Commission’s first emergency relocation proposal of 27 May. The Commission also appreciates the willingness of the majority of Member States to move forward as soon as possible towards an agreement on relocating another 120,000 people in clear need of international protection, as proposed by the European Commission on 9 September. We also welcome the Council’s decision to significantly and immediately increase the EU’s financial support to Syria and its neighbouring countries. However, this first step is only the beginning and more must be done to cope with the enormous challenges Europe and its citizens are facing at the moment. We called for a strong effort in European solidarity when presenting the Commission’s proposals to the European Parliament on 9 September and when President Juncker spoke to Heads of State and Government over the past days. The Commission will continue to work in close cooperation with the European Parliament, the Council, the 28 EU Member States and Schengen Associated States. We need swift progress and the operational implementation of our joint decisions so that we can make a difference on the ground as soon as possible. Furthermore, we now need to see the same sense of responsibility and urgency on the new emergency measures we proposed last week. We need to come to a more fundamental change of the current system to better combine responsibility, solidarity and effective management within a truly European Asylum and Migration Policy. The world is watching us. Now is the time for each and every one to take responsibility. The full statement can be found here.