Fire in Moria – call for emergency evacuation and relocation

169 MEPs signed the call for immideate action on Moria. This is the letter:

To:
Vice-President Margaritis Schinas
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson
Federal Minister for the Interior, Horst Seehofer

Brussels, 11 September 2020


Dear Vice-President Schinas,
Dear Commissioner Johansson,
Dear Minister Seehofer,

The fire in the EU’s biggest refugee camp Moria is a humanitarian disaster and a disaster for Europe as a whole. For far too long, Europe has ignored that the camp was heavily overcrowded and that people had to stay in Moria for years under slum-like circumstances. They had no access to proper sanitary facilities nor to appropriate accommodation. When Covid-19 broke out, not just the infected persons were put under quarantine, but the entire camp. More than 12.000 people were locked in a place where they had no possibility to protect themselves from the virus. The catastrophe was predictable. It is a shame for Europe that it was not prevented.

After Moria burnt down, more than 12.000 people are now stranded without even a tent or a roof over their heads. They urgently need our help. We, the undersigning MEPs urge you to provide immediate humanitarian and medical help, to evacuate the people as swiftly as possible and to provide a sustainable solution for the people of Moria by relocating them to other Member States.

We call on you to support Greece with corona tests of all asylum seekers and locals on the island and with medical personnel and equipment for people with severe disease progression.

Many of us, including the President of our House, have already at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis called for an evacuation of the camp and the relocation of asylum seekers from Moria to avoid an outbreak. We acknowledge that it is a challenge to evacuate now more than 12.000 persons at once and encourage you to look into all possibilities. People who cannot be immediately transferred to the mainland could also preliminarily be accommodated in cruise ships, which due to Covid-19 are currently out of operation, before they are relocated. In any case, we call on you to support Greece in providing emergency accommodation for the people of Moria where they can protect themselves from the virus.

We further urge you to ensure the relocation of asylum seekers from Moria to other Member States. Taking care of the people of Moria is not just the responsibility of Greece. Moria is a European refugee camp, and Europe has to stand by its responsibility. Many municipalities and regions in Europe have long declared their willingness to receive asylum seekers from Greece.

Since Wednesday night, thousands of people went on the streets to show their solidarity with the people of Moria and to call for their swift relocation. We fully support their call. We call on you to uphold our common European values and to relocate the people of Moria to places where they can find safety and dignified living condition.

Reconstructing Moria is not a solution, nor is it as solution to create similar conditions in other camps. It will only lead to the same problems that have caused the catastrophe.

We call on you to ensure that the upcoming Pact on Migration and Asylum will be based on solidarity and the fair sharing of responsibilities among Member States. We must make sure that a humanitarian disaster like in Moria will never happen again.

We urge you to do everything possible to help the people of Moria and to show European solidarity!

Sincerely yours,

Erik MARQUARDT (Greens/EFA), initiator of the letter
Ska KELLER, Co-President of the Greens/EFA
Philippe LAMBERTS, Co-President of the Greens/EFA
Iratxe GARCÍA-PEREZ, President of the S&D group
AUBRY MANON, Co-President of GUE/NGL
Martin SCHIRDEWAN, Co-President of GUE/NGL
Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR, Chair of the LIBE Committee
Maria ARENA, Chair of the DROI Committee
Younous OMARJEE (GUE/NGL)
Abir AL-SAHLANI (Renew)
Adriana MALDONADO LÓPEZ (S&D)
Agnes JONGERIUS (S&D)
Alexandra GEESE (Greens/EFA)
Alexis GEORGOULIS (GUE/NGL)
Alice KUHNKE (Greens/EFA)
Alviina ALAMETSÄ (Greens/EFA)
Andreas SCHIEDER (S&D)
Anna CAVAZZINI (Greens/EFA)
Anna DEPARNAY-GRUNENBERG (Greens/EFA)
Anne-Sophie PELLETIER (GUE)
Aurore LALUCQ (S&D)
Bas EICKHOUT (Greens/EFA)
Benoit BITEAU (Greens/EFA)
Bernard GUETTA (Renew)
Bernd LANGE (S&D)
Bettina VOLLATH (S&D)
Billy KELLEHER (Renew)
Brando BENIFEI (S&D)
Carlos ZORRINHO (S&D)
Caroline ROOSE (Greens/EFA)
Chris MACMANUS (GUE/NGL)
Ciaran CUFFE (Greens/EFA)
Clare DALY (GUE/NGL)
Claude GRUFFAT (Greens/EFA)
Claudia GAMON (Renew)
Cornelia ERNST (GUE/NGL)
Cristina MAESTRE MARTÍN DE ALMAGRO (S&D)
Damian BOESELAGER (Greens/EFA)
Damien CARÈME (Greens/EFA)
Daniel FREUND (Greens/EFA)
Danuta HUEBNER (EPP)
David CORMAND (Greens/EFA)
Deirdre CLUNE (EPP)
Delara BURKHARDT (S&D)
Diana RIBA I GINER (Greens/EFA)
Dietmar KÖSTER (S&D)
Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS (GUE/NGL)
Domenec RUIZ DEVESA (S&D)
Eider GARDIAZÁBAL RUBIAL (S&D)
Elena KOUNTOURA (GUE/NGL)
Elena YONCHEVA (S&D)
Ernest URTASUN (Greens/EFA)
Evelyn REGNER (S&D)
Fabienne KELLER (Renew)
Francisco GUERREIRO (Greens/EFA)
Francois ALFONSI (Greens/EFA)
Gabriele BISCHOFF (S&D)
Grace O’SULLIVAN (Greens/EFA)
Gwendoline DELBOS-CORFIELD (Greens/EFA)
Hannah NEUMANN (Greens/EFA)
Hannes HEIDE (S&D)
Heidi HAUTALA (Greens/EFA)
Helmut GEUKING (ECR)
Helmut SCHOLZ (GUE/NGL)
Henrike HAHN (Greens/EFA)
Hildegard BENTELE (EPP)
Idoia VILLANUEVA (GUE/NGL)
Inmaculada RODRÍGUEZ-PIÑERO (S&D)
Irena JOVEVA (Renew)
Isabel CARVALHAIS (S&D)
Isabel CARVALHAIS (S&D)
Isabel GARCÍA MUÑOZ (S&D)
Isabel SANTOS (S&D)
Ismail ERTUG (S&D)
Jakop DALUNDE (Greens/EFA)
Jan-Christoph OETJEN (Renew)
Janina OCHOJSKA (EPP)
Jarosław DUDA (EPP)
Javier MORENO SÁNCHEZ (S&D)
Jerzy BUZEK (EPP)
João FERREIRA (GUE/NGL)
Jordi SOLÉ (Greens/EFA)
José GUSMÃO (GUE/NGL)
Jutta PAULUS (Greens/EFA)
Karen MELCHIOR (Renew)
Karima Delli (Greens/EFA)
Katarina BARLEY (S&D)
Kathleen VAN BREMPT (S&D)
Kati PIRI (S&D)
Katrin LANGENSIEPEN (Greens/EFA)
Kim VAN SPARRENTAK (Greens/EFA)
Klemen GROSELJ (Renew)
Konstantinos ARVANITIS (GUE/NGL)
Lara WOLTERS (S&D)
Laura FERRARA (NI)
Leila CHAIBI (GUE/NGL)
Lina GALVEZ MUÑOZ (S&D)
Lukasz KOHUT (S&D)
Magdalena ADAMOWICZ (EPP)
Malin BJÖRK (GUE/NGL)
Manu PINEDA (GUE/NGL)
Marc BOTENGA (GUE/NGL)
Marcos ROS SEMPERE (S&D)
Margarete AUKEN (Greens/EFA)
Margarida MARQUES (S&D)
Maria Eugenia RODRÍGUEZ PALOP (GUE/NGL)
Maria NOICHL (S&D)
Maria WALSH (EPP)
Maria-Manuel Leitão-Marques (S&D)
Marie TOUSSAINT (Greens/EFA)
Marisa MATIAS (GUE/NGL)
Markéta GREGOROVÁ (Greens/EFA)
Martin HÄUSLING (Greens/EFA)
Martin SONNEBORN (NI)
Massimiliano SMERIGLIO (S&D)
Michael BLOSS (Greens/EFA)
Michèle RIVASI (Greens/EFA)
Mick WALLACE (GUE/NGL)
Miguel URBÁN CRESPO (GUE/NGL)
Milan BRGLEZ (S&D)
Monica Silvana GONZALEZ (S&D)
Monika VANA (Greens/EFA)
Mounir SATOURI (Greens/EFA)
Nico SEMSROTT (Greens/EFA)
Nicolae STEFANUTA (Renew)
Niklas NIENAß (Greens/EFA)
Nikolaj VILLUMSEN (GUE/NGL)
Özlem DEMIREL (GUE/NGL)
Pär HOLMGREN (Greens/EFA)
Pascal ARIMONT (EPP)
Patricia GUEGUEN (Greens/EFA)
Patrick BREYER (Greens/EFA)
Paul TANG (S&D)
Pernando BARRENA (GUE/NGL)
Peter VAN DALEN (EPP)
Petra DE SUTTER (Greens/EFA)
Petros KOKKALIS (GUE/NGL)
Pierfrancesco MAJORINO (S&D)
Pierrette HERZBERGER-FOFANA (Greens/EFA)
Pina PICIERNO (S&D)
Raphaël GLUCKSMANN (S&D)
Rasmus ANDRESEN (Greens/EFA)
Reinhard BÜTIKOFER (Greens/EFA)
Robert BIEDROŃ (S&D)
Romeo FRANZ (Greens/EFA)
Rosa D’AMATO (NI)
Salima YENBOU (Greens/EFA)
Samira RAFAELA (Renew)
Sandra PEREIRA (GUE/NGL)
Sara CERDAS (S&D)
Sarah WIENER (Greens/EFA)
Saskia BRICMONT (Greens/EFA)
Sergey LAGODINSKY (Greens/EFA)
Silvia MODIG (GUE/NGL)
Sira REGO (GUE/NGL)
Sophie IN’T VELD (Renew)
Stelios KOULOGLOU (GUE/NGL)
Sven GIEGOLD (Greens/EFA)
Sylwia SPUREK (S&D)
Tanja FAJON (S&D)
Terry REINTKE (Greens/EFA)
Thomas WAITZ (Greens/EFA)
Tiemo WÖLKEN (S&D)
Tilly METZ (Greens/EFA)
Tineke STRIK (Greens/EFA)
Udo BULLMANN (S&D)
Vera TAX (S&D)
Ville NIINISTÖ (Greens/EFA)
Viola VON CRAMON-TAUBADEL (Greens/EFA)
Yannick JADOT (Greens/EFA)

My current assessment of the situation in Greece

Instead of talking about racist marauding gangs at the external borders, the Greek coast guard refuses to rescue people, attacks rubber dinghies and puts people's lives in danger. Anyone who shares the military rhetoric of "European shield" or an "attack on the EU" or supports the Greek demand for "maximum deterrence" agrees with the right-wing mob and racist violence. Because anyone who says: "We are under attack, violence at the borders is necessary" also says: "Strike, it's only self-defence". The European Commission, the German government and 26 other EU states capitulate to an autocrat with border guard perseverance slogans.

The inhumane policy of the last few days is a gift for Erdoğan. The last few days have shown that only a few thousand fugitives have to stand at the external borders and already fundamental rights and basic human rights are being abrogated. Greece denies people the right to apply for asylum and so far Ursula von der Leyen and most European governments seem to simply tolerate this.

The responsible politicians are overwhelmed by the situation and seriously expect Turkey to take in another million people from Idlib, while at the EU's external border children are being shot at with tear gas so that nobody can claim their right to asylum in the European Union.

There is an alternative to the current chaos and the breach of our European values. We must immediately organise humanitarian aid at the external borders. We must set contingents, evacuate people from the Greek islands in an orderly fashion and then check in various states who is in need of protection and who is not. Only through humanity and order can we find an answer worthy of Europe.

To respond to those seeking protection with violence and military rhetoric is absolutely unworthy of Europe.

For questions and further information please contact our press officer Krsto Lazarević at your disposal.

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