Dear constituent,

Thank you for raising your concerns about Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis.

The current humanitarian crisis in Syria is unprecedented, the number of refugees is increasing daily and Russia’s intervention is likely to make the issue prolonged and worse in Syria.

During the summer months new migration routes emerged, creating even bigger challenges for Europe. For the security of our citizens as well as incoming refugees, the proper management and control of our external borders is paramount.

Recently, I visited refugee camps in Serbia, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq to see the situation for myself. People are desperate to get to Europe and to a safe haven for themselves and their family.

It is essential that the EU shows solidarity between its members and show that it is a union of values – that it is capable of managing a migration policy with fair rules, compassion, and the rule of law.

At the emergency migration summit on 21 September, Member States agreed to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece. It is a relief, and after painfully slow progress it marks the beginning of the end of EU paralysis on refugees. Labour MEPs also welcome the positive outcome of the emergency meeting of the EU’s heads of state in agreeing to donate €1 billion (£700m) to the UN refugee agency and the World Food Programme as well as providing assistance to countries neighbouring Syria and for Balkan States.

This is only the beginning of the process in ensuring an organised and compassionate response.  The European Parliament has consistently stressed the importance of having in place binding measures to address relocation and resettlement, as well as search and rescue, the creation of reception centres, hotspots and development aid and partnerships.  On 17 September MEPs showed that they are ready to engage in a constructive dialogue with the European Council by voting in favour of proposals to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece.

Labour MEPs will continue to push for a critical upgrade of the EU’s response. Particularly in relation to reception conditions and responsibility sharing of refugees between member states and tackling people smugglers. We will also continue to lead calls for the UK government to show solidarity with Member States and opt-in to key EU measures to help refugees.

Thank you again for taking the time to express your concerns.

Best wishes,

Afzal Khan MEP