Ver­hof­s­tadt slams Tusk for ‘not do­ing his job’

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Guy Ver­hof­s­tadt, the leader of the lib­eral ALDE group in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, slammed Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk for not play­ing his role in solv­ing the refugee cri­sis.

Ver­hof­s­tadt, a for­mer Bel­gian Prime Min­is­ter, crit­i­cised Tusk for re­fus­ing to come to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment’s ple­nary ses­sion in Stras­bourg this week. Dur­ing the Par­lia­ment’s open­ing ses­sion on Mon­day, Ver­hof­s­tadt’s pro­posal to sum­mon Tusk to Stras­bourg was sup­ported by ac­cla­ma­tion.

“It is in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to me that Tusk doesn’t seem to un­der­stand he has a key role to play in solv­ing this cri­sis.

“If noth­ing else, he should come to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment to ex­plain why EU mem­ber states have to­tally failed to reach a com­mon po­si­tion; this is one of the big­gest hu­man tragedy since the foun­da­tion of the EU. Why is he re­fus­ing to or­gan­ise an ex­tra­or­di­nary sum­mit to deal with this hu­man­i­tar­ian dis­as­ter? It is un­ac­cept­able that he re­fuses to do his job,” Ver­hof­s­tadt stated.

Ver­hof­s­tadt com­pared the refugee cri­sis to the eu­ro­zone cri­sis, when many sum­mits and Eurogroup meet­ings were held to seek so­lu­tions.

“EU mem­ber states met more than 80 times to find a deal with Greece, but can­not now even try and put in place a so­lu­tion to avoid the loss of more lives. Money seems to be more im­por­tant than hu­man lives,” the ALDE leader said.

In the mean­time, Tusk de­liv­ered a speech at the an­nual din­ner of Bruegel, a Brus­sels-based eco­nomic think tank, in which he ad­dressed the mi­gra­tion chal­lenge and called on EU lead­ers to “re­dou­ble their ef­forts, when it comes to sol­i­dar­ity with the mem­bers fac­ing this un­prece­dented mi­gra­tory wave”.

Tusk said that an “enor­mous ef­fort” was de­manded of EU in­sti­tu­tions, which im­plied a ma­jor in­crease in spend­ing.

“The present wave of mi­gra­tion is not a one-time in­ci­dent but the be­gin­ning of a real ex­o­dus, which only means that we will have to deal with this prob­lem for many years to come. There­fore it is so im­por­tant to learn how to live with it with­out blam­ing each other,” he stated.

The Pol­ish Coun­cil Pres­i­dent is known to be sym­pa­thetic to the po­si­tions of cen­tral Euro­pean coun­tries who are re­luc­tant to take in mi­grants and who re­ject the manda­tory quo­tas and a per­ma­nent mech­a­nism for the re­lo­ca­tion of refugees, as they were pro­posed by the Com­mis­sion.

“We need to think about our Europe with greater ten­der­ness and pa­tience. We need to pro­tect her not only against ex­ter­nal threats when they ap­pear, but also against in­ter­nal temp­ta­tions for rev­o­lu­tion­ary and to­tal changes,” Tusk said.

The Coun­cil Pres­i­dent also touched upon the push to im­prove the Eco­nomic and Mon­e­tary Union, in­sist­ing that the re­form should take place with­out a treaty change.

“I am well aware that some politi­cians, not least in Ger­many, would dis­agree, but their claims are ei­ther an over­state­ment or an ex­cuse not to change. […] If some­one is not con­vinced, then I in­vite them for a trip across Europe to check the chances of a har­mo­nious treaty change rat­i­fi­ca­tion process. My bet is zero,” Tusk said.

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