European Council
Council of the European Union

Remarks by President Donald Tusk at the UN summit for refugees and migrants

European Council
  • 19/09/2016
  • Speech
  • 523/16
  • Home Affairs
  • Foreign affairs & international relations
19/09/2016
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Preben Aamann
European Council President Spokesperson
+32 22815150
+32 476850543

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The European Union welcomes this ambitious initiative, as no other global problem is more urgent today than the ongoing migration of millions of people. The United Nations still needs to strengthen its tools and find the money to deal with the humanitarian needs and other problems triggered by this unprecedented wave of migration. There is a lot of catching up to do. We hope that today's declaration will mark a new pragmatic approach and a shift towards a global system of more orderly movement, where the responsibility is shared and where no one will bear the burden alone.

You have to know that today the European Union has a clear objective to restore order on  its external borders. As a result, this will lead to the further reduction of the irregular flows to the EU. There will be no repeat of the year 2015 with more than 1 and a half million irregular migrants.

At the same time, we are ready to increase humanitarian and development assistance for refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities. Our new initiatives are already underway.

We are finalising Compacts with Jordan and Lebanon with an aim to provide an appropriate and safe environment for refugees and displaced persons from Syria, in exchange for additional EU funds. We are also setting up new partnership agreements with African countries. Moreover, we are determined to continue our cooperation with Turkey and with the Western Balkans countries.

In all the above-mentioned issues, the strengthening of EU's external borders and increasing financial assistance for those in need, I want to underline that the EU Member States stand united, which was confirmed by our meeting in Bratislava three days ago.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Global migration will accompany us in the future. And it is in our power to decide whether our future in this context will be orderly, stable and safe; or disorderly, unstable and unsafe. We need the political will, responsibility sharing and practical co-operation of all players, and not two years from now but here and now. Our discussion today gives me hope that we can make it happen. Thank you very much.