On Friday, the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) supported the positions of the Government of Estonia regarding the proposals of the European Commission on easing migratory pressures and helping Italy, Greece and Hungary to relocate 120,000 refugees.
Estonia considers it important to tackle the root causes of migration pressure problems. For that, it is necessary to continue the efforts to guarantee peace in Syria, Libya and other crisis hotspots, to strengthen the external borders of the EU and to establish safe zones for refugees as near as possible to the homes of the refugees. Estonia supports setting up a trust fund to address root causes of the crisis and improve stability and migration management in Africa.
„When we spoke with the refugees in the refugee camp in Jordan, we got confirmation that coming to Europe is their last forced choice for survival. The States of the EU should contribute to the development of economy in crisis hotspots and open their borders to trade in order to support the possibility and development of local life,” Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling said.
In the crisis situation, Estonia is ready to receive additional refugees, taking into account the capabilities of the state of Estonia, the share of its population and economy in Europe and the wish of the refugees to be relocated into Estonia. We prefer mutual assistance based on the principle of voluntarism.
“As we could see when we visited the refugee camp in Jordan, those who are in real need of assistance should be helped in the local regions and refugee camps. Certainly the voluntariness of the EU Member States in assisting refugees should be preserved,” Deputy Chairman of the European Union Affairs committee Jaak Madison said.
Estonia also supports strengthening the role of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union (Frontex) and the Common European Asylum System (EASO), and continues participating in Frontex missions. Estonia supports military operation and cooperation with third states in order to prevent the activities of human smugglers. Besides that, we support the establishing of receiving centres in Member States under pressure and making the return policy of persons not in need of protection more effective.
Estonia’s positions will be presented at the extraordinary meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 14 September by the Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur.