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, ALDE Vice-President and the CoR rapporteur on migration, told the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs on 23 September.
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.
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.
He also voiced his support for the European Union’s efforts to find a long-term sustainable asylum and migration system for Europe.
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.