Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has expressed serious concerns at the contents of a leaked European Council document entitled “Integrity of the Schengen Area.”
Speaking from Cyprus, where she is addressing a conference with leaders of the left-wing political party, AKEL, Ms Anderson said: “The contents of this report are seriously alarming. And the fact that members of the European Parliament had to learn these details via a leaked document is an insult to the democratically elected MEPs and a shame on the European Council.
“This Council document advocates putting into motion a train of events that could see the free movement of peoples in Europe come to an end, yet the free movement of people is a core principle of the European Union.
“The reason for the massive upsurge in people seeking shelter and safety in Europe is the series of conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, which was aggravated this week with the presence of British bombs.
“However the Council seems unable to differentiate between the desperate refugees and the terror they are fleeing.
“There is not one single mention of refugees or asylum seekers in this entire document – people fleeing some of the most intense war zones on the planet are described as ‘irregular migrants’ and their crossing into Europe constantly described as ‘illegal.’
“The solution to the humanitarian crisis is not the closing of borders, the building of walls or sinking of boats. The solution is creating safe and legal avenues for refugees and asylum seekers and working towards the de-escalation of violence in the various regions.”