“Which role do you think the EU should have in managing and assisting the migrants and refugees, especially coming from the Mediterranean sea, in view of what just happened between Italy and Malta? Because it’s not only a problem for the member states directly involved as a first country, since there are no borders in the EU, it’s the problem of all the Union. So what is your solution to avoid a fortress Europe?”
The response, from Graham Watson, Liberal group leader in the European Parliament:
“Many people are worried about migration. They see television pictures of hordes of people coming across the Mediterranean in small boats and they worry about somehow being overrun by migrants.
“What they fail to realise is that unless people have a chance of a decent life where they come from, many of them will get up and move in search of a good life, just as our forefathers did when we peopled America and Canada, Australia and so on.
“The real challenge in dealing with the questions of population movement is dealing with the conflict and the disease and the environmental devastation that affect so many countries in Africa, in Asia and elsewhere. And unless we really get on top of the development agenda, giving people in all countries of the world a decent standard of living and hope of a better chance for their children, then we will continue to see movements of greater numbers of people than would otherwise be necessary.”