Senior Labour MEP Claude Moraes has said European nations must take many more migrants, and urged the EU to enact tough legislation to ensure their distribution throughout the bloc.
Speaking as the leader of the European Parliament’s second largest grouping, Moraes dismissed development and humanitarian aid as the answer to helping people in poor countries. Instead, he insisted that migrants must be transported to countries in Europe, potentially at great cost to taxpayers.
The head of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) spoke by telephone from Lebanon, where he is visiting refugee camps with other MEPs.
To ensure this takes place Moraes said the European Union (EU) must enact a refugee distribution key, a system which would semi-automatically assign migrants to nations in the bloc.
“I hope there will be a distribution key and I hope there will be a stronger kind of direction in the legislation,” he told EUobserver on Wednesday.
Against the backdrop of Lebanon, which hosts the most refugees per capita worldwide, Moraes said European countries need to resettle many more migrants as humanitarian and development aid is not enough.
The European Commission unveiled new plans for moving migrants from the third world to Europe in July. Distribution keys and binding quotas were not included after serious backlash from countries like Hungary when they featured in the Commission’s earlier proposals, floated in January.
With Moraes in Beirut, German Green MEP Ska Keller blasted the July plan put out by the EU as weak, and said mandatory target numbers of migrants are required.
She said: “There is nothing binding in there. There is no minimal number, there is no scheme of how many are to be resettled.”
Although Moraes dismissed international development as a response to the migrant crisis, a recent study has found bringing migrants to the first world is a more expensive option. The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) last November reported that for each refugee the U.S. government resettles in America, 12 can be resettled in the Middle East for the same cost.