EU Commission deputy: Response to Ukraine refugees showed 'Europe at its best'

Margaritis Schinas called on EU member states to agree a new asylum policy as fast as possible
Margaritis Schinas called on EU member states to agree a new asylum policy as fast as possible Copyright Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP
By Sasha Vakulina with AP
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Margaritis Schinas made the remarks at a conference on refugees at Davos as she urged the bloc to face "reality" and agree a new policy toward migrants and asylum seekers.


Speakers on a migration panel at the World Economic Forum have said the European Union’s response to the arrival of millions of Ukrainian refugees was a stellar example of solidarity - but it also served as a reminder of the need for an overhaul of the bloc's migration policy.

European Commission vice president Margaritis Schinas said on Tuesday that the opening of borders to Ukrainian civilians had shown "Europe at its best.”

The exodus of more than 6 million refugees from Ukraine, mostly women and children, prompted the EU to activate an emergency protection system for the first time since its creation in 2001. This in turn facilitated Ukrainians' access to jobs, housing, education and healthcare in the EU.

But talks on a new migration and asylum policy in the EU proposed in 2020 have stalled as member states disagree on whose responsibility it is to take in those who arrive outside of state-approved channels. During the panel discussion, Schinas urged EU member states to face “reality” and reach a consensus.

Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita also said she was proud of her small country's reaction to the crisis. Half a million refugees have crossed from Ukraine into Moldova since the war began, with the host country  arranging entry for those with expired passports, allowing them to bring pets, and urging locals to host displaced Ukrainians in their homes.

Despite the positive steps taken so far, Ms Gavrilita told Euronews more long-term help would be needed for Moldova to cope. "We are reaching our debt sustainability levels," she said, "so we are seeking grand budget support, but also other types of assistance.

"We are talking to the EU about removing the quota for the exports of Moldovan agricultural goods. We are talking to the EU about the liberalisation of transportation authorisation, because logistics and transportation have become much more difficult and much more costly. And of course, we are talking about the need for strategic investment."

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Zelenskyy calls for 'maximum' sanctions against Russia at Davos

What funding do EU countries get to help Ukrainian refugees?

Zelenskyy: Putin is a 'predator' who will not be satisfied with a 'frozen' conflict