UN migration representative: Lack of agreement on refugees risks the European project
Peter Sutherland, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for International Migration, warned last month that failure to agree on a united response to the current asylum-seeker crisis poses a danger to the very concept of European unity. “If there is no agreement to share refugees between the countries of the European Union, it risks undermining the very essence of the European project,” he told The Guardian.
The EU-28 has since adopted a quota system for redistribution of refugees, but the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia voted against it and Finland abstained. The Czech News Agency reported last month that Sutherland expressed surprise over the reaction of these relatively newer Central and Eastern European Member States to the entire concept of EU solidarity.
Sutherland has also since urged the British and French Governments to do more to help the people who are now stuck in the improvised "refugee camp" in Calais. The Guardian reported that he considers the camp an "indictment on society".
The Irish diplomat has served as the Special Representative since 2006. He has also served as Attorney General of Ireland, as European Commissioner for Competition Policy, and as Director-General of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Trade Organization.
"No other force — not trade, not capital flows — has the potential to transform lives in sustainable, positive ways and on the scale that migration does,” Sutherland has said. He advocates promoting practical action to increase the benefits of migration for countries of origin and destination and for migrants themselves while at the same time reducing the economic and human costs of migration.
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