Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 24 September 2015


In a few weeks time the Mediterranean will be too rough for even the hardiest would-be migrant into Europe to make that perilous crossing. It gives the EU and wider international community a breathing space of several months to put in place a plan to ensure that this years chaotic scenes are never repeated.

It seems that about 850,000 people have made it to Europe from North Africa and the Middle East this summer. About 5000 have perished in the attempt, a truly tragic number.

It is now estimated that only about 20% of migrants have come from the civil war in Syria. The balance have come from a variety of African and Middle Eastern countries. Many have also come from the Balkans, seizing the opportunity for a better life in Germany on the coat tails of genuine refugees.

I do not blame anybody who genuinely seeks a better life. But we cannot accept them all. In the bleak months of winter when our shores are quiet, EU leaders must put in place an effective plan to combat next years mass migration. One thing we know for sure: this problem is not going away. Mass migration into Western Europe will be our biggest challenge for a generation. We need a plan and a system.

What should it be? Here are my thoughts. First, adequate new reception centres in the hotspots in Greece, Italy, Hungary etc and a rule that all in-comers are directed towards them.. No exceptions should be allowed. This will be funded by the EU.

Second, a firm decision that people will be processed in these centres and only genuine refugees allowed in.

Third, agreement that we will share genuine refugees around the EU, with each country playing its part, including the UK. If any country wishes take an equivalent number direct from refugee camps direct that will count against their quota. If  any EU country (say Germany) wants to takes economic migrants as well that is up to them.

All of this needs to be policed and enforced by combined EU resources and forces. We have a few months. At the same time we must redouble our collective efforts to sow and nurture stability and prosperity in the troubled areas. We need to tackle the human traffickers. We need the talent of these countries to stay put and make their countries stronger over time. We need to invest at source.
We have to act now.

posted by Gary @ 09:42