- Current migration challenges, including refugee flows on the Western Balkans route, cooperation with Turkey and talks with African countries, as well as the funds needed to tackle these challenges, were debated with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday 27 October 2015 from 10.10 CET.
- The debate's focus was on the conclusions of the 15 October European Council meeting, the leaders' meeting on 25 October to address flows on the Western Balkans route, and the Valletta summit on 11-12 November, which will bring together EU and African leaders to seek common solutions to migration challenges.
- A full recap on the debate is below, including quotes, photos and tweets. See also the following press release.
Martin Schulz, European Parliament President
- Opening the debate shortly after 10.10 CET, President Martin Schulz welcomed the 17-point plan agreed at the 25 October EU summit, but voiced deep concern on the failure to keep promises: "If governments consider national egoism more important than common solutions, it will be to the detriment of both refugees and European cohesion", he said.
- He also described the situation in the Western Balkans as extremely worrying: "Tens of thousands of people are using the Western Balkans route to leave to Europe. They have no roofs over their heads, they are hungry, they are crossing our borders in the middle of the night. As winter approaches, a humanitarian disaster looms."
- Schulz continued: "Promises are being made and not delivered upon. Governments on the right and on the left sometimes think national interests are more important than community solutions. What suffers are the refugees and the cohesion of the European Union."
Donald Tusk, European Council President
- "The crisis, or rather challenge that all of us are facing now is perhaps the biggest we have seen for decades. I have no doubt that it has the potential to change the European Union we have built. It has the potential even to destroy achievements such as border-free travel between Schengen countries. And what is even more dangerous is the potential to create tectonic changes to the European political landscape and these are not changes for the better."
- Tusk continued: "These are truly extraordinary times that require extraordinary measures, extraordinary sacrifices, and extraordinary solidarity."
- He added: "Together we will handle this crisis, otherwise I don't want to think of the alternative. From the very outset I have underlined the importance of protecting our external borders. We do not yet have an agreement on how to do it in operational terms, but at least we do share the view that our priority must be to protect the EU's external borders."