Juncker calls for refugee quotas, protecting Schengen

History

A quota system and solidarity among European Union countries are necessary to address the current refugee crisis, and to find room for 160,000 arrivals, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured) said this morning during his first state of the EU address in Strasbourg, according to a report in the Guardian.

The EC President emphasized that the Schengen system of free movement will not be dismantled but Europeʼs continental borders will be strengthened, the Guardian reported.

“Iʼm strongly in favor of allowing asylum seekers to work while their applications are being processed. Work is a matter of dignity,” the daily quoted Juncker as saying.

Saying Europe has been unable to work together to aid refugees, Juncker suggested a compulsory system to relocate 160,000 displaced people, according to the paper. There has been a lot of finger pointing by member states and accusations that Brussels is not doing its job, Juncker noted, adding that anger is not the solution but the adoption of a common asylum system is, the Guardian reported.

Europe is seen as a place of refuge and hope, and this is something to be proud of and not to be feared, Juncker said. He also reminded the audience that Europe is a continent where at one point or another almost everyone was a refugee, the Guardian reported. He mentioned Hungarian revolutionaries fleeing to Austria after the 1956 uprising against Soviet rule and the displacement of 60 million people following the Second World War. We should never forget that giving refuge is important and that the right to asylum is one of the most important European values, he added, according to the Guardian.

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