Metsola calls for stronger EU borders: ‘Protection is a right, migration is not’

At EPP Congress, Nationalist MEP says people’s fears on migration must be addressed by stronger external borders

Roberta Metsola: People have genuine fears and it is only by reinforcing our external borders will these fears be allayed
Roberta Metsola: People have genuine fears and it is only by reinforcing our external borders will these fears be allayed

Addressing the European People’s Party Congress in a key debate in Helsinki, Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola appealed to leaders to re-affirm the EPP’s values when faced with decisions on the economy, migration and social change. 

“Migration remains truly one of the greatest challenges of our generation. And the answers to the questions facing our citizens are not found in the cheap populism peddled by some, nor are they found in the imaginary world of the far-right or the open borders of the far left. It is within our values that the answers lie. It is the principles that the EPP embodies – our European value system – that we must, double-down upon,” Metsola said. 

Metsola said that politicians must not bury their heads in the sand. “People have genuine fears and it is only by reinforcing our external borders will these fears be allayed. It must be us, in the EPP, that fight to strengthen our borders – which is why we are currently discussing adding some €10 billion to the EU budget and thousands of new EU border and Coast Guards.” 

Metsola, who has been put in charge of a new EU borders law in the Parliament, said: “Our principles mean that those who need protection must be granted it, but also that it is essential to draw differences between those in need of protection and those looking for work. 

“Because we understand that Member States must be able to control their labour markets and we know while people fleeing war, famine and persecution have a right to protection, which we must do more to respect, it is also true that this does not equate to an inalienable right to migration for all without any conditions. Protection is a right. Migration is not.” 

“For those people who need protection, we must have a system that does not leave nations in the Mediterranean on their own. Responsibility must be shared, people’s lives must be saved and their rights must be respected.” 

Metsola said migration poses challenges, but Europe had to address them in a way that does not fuel the extremist and far-right sentiment emerging across the globe. 

“Migration is about people and we can never, ever, lose sight of that. We, the EPP, must remain the voice of calm, moderate, reason in a debate that is too often dominated by the loud left and right fringes. Perhaps it’s time to show that we can shout too – and with us it’s not empty noise.”

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