President of the EU Council supports regions on refugee issue
The 116th plenary session of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) took place on the 10 and 11 February 2016 in Brussels. Former Governor Franz Schausberger and President of the regional Parliament Brigitta Pallauf represented the region of Salzburg at the session.
The main topic of the plenum was the refugee problem of the European Union. In a debate with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk solutions were explored and discussed. In his remarks Tusk stressed that the regional and local authorities are on the front line in the migration situation and the subsequent integration and, therefore, urgently need support. According to the CoR, the challenge lies in the fair sharing of responsibility, particularly with regard to redistribution and resettlement of refugees, effectively combating radicalization and maintaining the security in European society, while at the same time respecting human rights. The CoR calls on all Member States to show solidarity and a sense of shared responsibility.
In his remarks Schausberger noted with satisfaction the clear commitment of the president of the EU council to regionalism and decentralization. He said, however, that unfortunately a contrary development can be observed at the moment in Europe. He also agreed with Tusk that everything bad in Europe´s history was caused by centralism and nationalism. If regions and local authorities have to act as troubleshooters concerning the refugee issue and integration, they need to be granted the political, administrative and economic capacities and competencies. Hence, Schausberger expressed the wish for a clearer commitment to regionalism from the Member States and EU candidate countries.
“The Schengen area is a symbol of unity, but not only that. In Salzburg we live right at the Bavarian border. Therefore, we know about the importance of open borders for the economy and daily life. People have adapted to it and commute every day to work or university, and suddenly they are confronted at the borders with a long wait. In the European Committee of the Regions, we are in favour of open borders. Nevertheless, the Schengen external borders must be secured and it needs better and precise information at the initial points of migration, as well as a legal, strict and speedy registration of the refugees. The refugee problem can only be addressed with common responsibility and solidarity”, continued Schausberger.
The regional representatives in the CoR adopted a resolution on the Schengen area. Among other things, the CoR considers a legal entry with a registration procedure necessary to guarantee an orderly entry into the EU and more resources to secure the EU’s external borders.
source: Press Release of Landeskorrespondenz Salzburg and the CoR- Press Office
photos: CoR and IRE