The top priority of the new European Commission is an urgent agreement for a sustainable, comprehensive and cohesive European policy in the refugee and migrants issue, underlined designated vice president of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas in a videotaped message at Thessaloniki Summit 2019 on Thursday.
“Europe will remain an asylum destination and will always be a shield for the weak and the vulnerable. At the same time, whoever is not entitled to asylum and has no reason to be placed under European protection will be sent back,” stated Schinas.
Referring to the European elections last June, he noted that the European citizens sent a message to Europe’s leadership, a clear and strong message asking for more and better Europe.
Schinas unveiled the three axes on which the European leadership will be judged.
On the major issue of migration, he said that there is no more time for delay and “an agreement must be reached immediately for a sustainable, cohesive and comprehensive European policy with common management of the borders, effective guarding of the borders, the completion of the common European asylum policy, better integration of third-country nationals in European communities and a common strategy attracting highly qualified migrants.”
Schinas expressed strong support for real and substantial action to address the climate crisis, with Europe playing a key role. He said that within the first 100 days of assuming office, the new European Commission will propose a major European Green Agreement which will legally guarantee its commitment to achieving the target of climate neutrality by 2050. In this context, the Commission will propel, among others, a comprehensive investment plan for sustainable growth envisaging 1.0 trillion euros of investments in the next decade, in every corner of the European Union.
He also underlined that the time has come for Europe to implement its vision for a common digital area. “Our aim,” said Schinas, “is the completion of the single digital market that will create added value for the citizens by reinforcing innovation and the constant improvement of the legal framework by which it is governed.” However, he clarified that Europe will remain world champion in the protection of privacy and personal data.