World Refugee Day: PES Network leads call for strong refugees’ rights

World Refugee Day: PES Network leads call for strong refugees’ rights

The EU should be inspired by the solidarity wave that has swept across Europe since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, and strive to protect those who seek refuge in the EU from wars and persecution, participants to the meeting demanded.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, PES Coordinator in the CIVEX Commission Marie Johansson, Member of the Committee of regions Working Group on Ukraine Antje Grotheer, and others met online to discuss Europe’s response on the consequences of the war on Ukrainian refugees caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said

“A majority of the Member States have now signed an important declaration of solidarity and committed themselves to the principle of solidarity. This is an important step for cohesive migration in the EU. Now is the time for Member States to step in and do relocations for the coming year.”

Co-chair of the PES Migration and Integration Network, Swedish MP Carina Ohlsson from SAP, said:

“We cannot know how long Ukrainian refugees will stay with us. So, we must prepare for the longer-term, with innovative integration programmes and initiatives and support for our local and regional authorities. We must ensure that all refugees continue to be protected. For this, we need a solidarity mechanism with a fair distribution of responsibilities within the EU.

“Long-term solutions will be needed to safeguard the implementation of refugees’ rights, to help them create homes away from home, for as long as the war and its consequences prevent them from returning.

“Today, on World Refugee Day, I recall one of our core principles on asylum policy: we, social democrats stand strong for the right to seek asylum. I want to stress that we must avoid double standards, and make sure the unprecedented solidarity we can observe today will become the norm for the EU ‘s policies towards all refugees.”

The Network also discussed a draft briefing on social and employment challenges for Ukrainian refugees.

Due to the brutal Russian invasion in Ukraine, more than 6 million people, mainly women and children, have fled the country in search of protection and safe heaven. Millions more are displaced internally.

Today on World Refugee Day, the PES reaffirms its commitment to the right for asylum. Seeking protection is a human right that needs to be universal, irrespective of origin or any other consideration.

We commend the remarkable solidarity, mobilisation and aid from Member States, local authorities, citizens, civil society, and the private sector across the EU in support of Ukrainian refugees. As socialists and democrats, we work to ensure the solidarity observed today is the standard for EU refugee policies. Looking beyond the immediate needs of refugees arriving in Europe, we must prioritise long-term inclusion to safeguard refugees’ rights, to support refugees’ resilience and help them create homes away from home. Inclusion – through equal opportunities, reciprocal duties and mutual respect – is essential.