SP: EU rewards countries for failing to meet obligations to refugees

8 April 2010

SP: EU rewards countries for failing to meet obligations to refugees

If the majority in the European Parliament get their way, EU member states who have so far made no moves to resettle refugees would be rewarded for their lack of effort. These member states will receive a bonus of €2000 over and above the fixed sum of €4000 per resettled person which Brussels in already pays. "This creates the impression that we have to bribe member states to get them to take in refugees," says SP European Parliamentary group chair Dennis de Jong.

Dennis de Jong"I'm not talking about spontaneous asylum seekers but about recognised refugees who the UN refugees' organisation has ruled cannot be protected in their own part of the world," explains De Jong. "It's an international moral and humanitarian duty to accept, to the best of your ability, such people for resettlement should the UN request it. It's very strange that we should be compensating countries which are simply following their international obligations, and it's certainly the wrong way to go about things when countries which have ignored commitments which they have entered into in the past are to be given additional funds." De Jong voted against the proposal that moneys from the European Refugees' Funds be released to cover this kind of financial support. "It's striking to see how many Members of the European Parliament are happy to vote for still more money to be pumped back and forth in this wasteful way. At precisely the time when we have to cope with big cuts in expenditure, nobody in the Netherlands can figure out how Brussels can simply carry on in its old sweet way."

The EU's resettlement programme is designed to ensure a speedier reaction to requests from the UN for the reception of recognised refugees. Currently, ten member states take part each year in this resettlement programme: the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the UK, Ireland, Portugal, France, Romania and the Czech Republic.

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