Regions need more help from EU in migration crisis, CoR rapporteur tells European Parliament

​François Decoster
Local and regional authorities across the European Union need more financial support from the EU in order to cope with the challenges of hosting large numbers of refugees and migrants, François Decoster, the Committee of the Region's rapporteur on migration, today told the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).
He also voiced his support for the European Union's efforts to find a long-term sustainable asylum and migration system for Europe.
"Yesterday's decision by the EU to relocate 120,000 migrants and refugees across the EU is just the start of a process that should lead to a much more stable system that shows solidarity with those in need and with the local communities subject to migratory pressures. We have to come up with a way of managing such situations that is fair to all," said Mr Decoster (ALDE / France).
Cities and regions that "just happen to lie on migratory routes" are having to respond to the crisis at their own expense, said Mr Decoster, who is mayor of St-Omer in north-western France. "Our fellow citizens did not elect us to exercise such a competence because these are tasks that really belong to higher levels of government, but we do so because it is our moral duty to provide humanitarian support," he said.
Mr Decoster welcomed the European Commission's provision of emergency support to some areas, including his region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. He said, however, that EU national leaders should use today's emergency summit on migration to dedicate far greater sums to the challenges posed by the large number of refugees and migrants arriving in Europe.
Mr Decoster said that the costs associated with receiving and integrating migrants and refugees far exceed current commitments by the EU. Local authorities should be given access to more financial support through a larger number of funds, he said.
"In one way or another, either indirectly but often very directly, the current wave of migration is affecting every region in Europe," Mr Decoster said. "The EU's funding system needs to reflect that reality."
Mr Decoster's call for more financial support is also contained in a report authored by him and approved, with amendments, on 14 September by the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX) of the CoR. The report will be voted on by all members of the CoR at its December plenary of the CoR.
Mayor Decoster was speaking at an inter-parliamentary meeting of the LIBE committee, which had invited local political leaders and members of national parliaments to Brussels for an exchange of opinions on migration. The LIBE committee is currently preparing a report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the EU's approach to migration.
Roberta Metsola MEP, the co-rapporteur for the LIBE committee's report, said: "We must also beyond emergency measures and tackle the root causes of migration and adopt a holistic approach that tackles every facet of the issue – and that is what we are trying to do with our bi-partisan report in the European Parliament. This is a global challenge that must be addressed by a worldwide response. Every member state and region must play its part."
During the meeting, Mr Decoster shared with MEPs and national parliamentarians photographs showing the reality of the refugee and migrant situation in the region of Calais. On 18 September, he hosted a study visit by members of the CoR to the region.
Andrew Gardner
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