Europe must take steps to guarantee safety and security of refugees - Abela

Home affairs minister Carmelo Abela visits refugee camp in Austria

Home affairs minister Carmelo Abela meets with the Austrian armed forces
Home affairs minister Carmelo Abela meets with the Austrian armed forces

In the last days, Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela has insisted that Europe must take every step to guarantee safety and security to refugees fleeing war zones, and that this burden must be fairly shared among member states.

Speaking during a visit to one of the refugee camps that the Austrian government has set up to deal with the unprecedented crisis close to the Hungarian border in Nickelsdorf Austria, Abela said that Austria has become a distribution centre for people seeking a better life.

Abela was briefed by officers from the Austrian Armed Forces and the Police.

‘This situation is like no other. In the last couple of months, we have been debating the way forward and recently we agreed on a small step forward,” Abela said.

“However, we should strive to find a long term solution for this issue since we cannot continue shifting from one crisis to another.”

Speaking with the police and army officials present at the camps, Abela mentioned the importance of assuming a common EU responsibility on proper border management. 

“Europe is built on solidarity - out of necessity, not romanticism”, he said noting that the fact that leaders agreed on hotspots being set up by the end of November to address better the issue of registration in front-line member states, is another EU step in the right direction.

Since the exodus from Syria and the Middle East started, nearly 80,000 refugees have crossed over to Austria from Hungary after their treacherous journey.

Abela was invited by his Austrian counterpart the minister of defence to participate in a conference for which neutral countries were invited to attend in Austria.

After his visit in Austria, Abela travelled to London where he participated in the executive committee meeting of the commonwealth parliamentary association as a representative of our region.