Check against delivery!
Thank you [Madame] President, Honourable Members of this Parliament,
The European Union has a long-standing and clear position on human rights, which are at the heart of our action and an essential component of our internal and external policies. Special attention is drawn to the most vulnerable groups and, in particular, to children.
The European Union has a long-standing partnership with Morocco, one of our closest neighbours and a key ally in many strategic fields. Since many years already, the European Union and Morocco have an excellent cooperation on migration, leading to recognised results, in particular in the latest years.
We fully share the many concerns expressed about the events of three weeks ago in Ceuta, which led to an unprecedented number of people, including many children, to try to cross the Spanish-Moroccan border risking their lives at sea.
The European Union publicly expressed its position on this, at several levels, and I take this opportunity to reiterate our full solidarity with Spain, with regard to their efforts to address the challenges of irregular migration.
We remain, therefore, confident that similar situations will not happen again and that a close cooperation with Morocco, respectful of human rights and shared commitments and values, will be preserved.
Effective responses to the challenges represented by migration flows will require further dialogue with Morocco, as a country of transit, origin and destination. In this spirit and in the name of our strong relationship, we consider that it is paramount to reinforce our cooperation in search of common solutions. Our cooperation is based on dialogue, responsibility, mutual trust and respect. And aimed at providing concrete solutions, which include addressing together the socio-economic root-causes of migration in the wider perspective of the European Union-Africa migration cooperation.
In this context, the European Union welcomes the decision to facilitate the re-entry of unaccompanied and duly identified Moroccan minors, which Morocco officially announced a few days ago. We hope that this decision can be effectively implemented soon, ensuring the best interest of the child.
This crisis also reveals the need to turn to the future and to a fresh start in the European migration policies. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum gives this chance, proposing mutually beneficial partnerships with third countries.
The European Union values its close partnership with Morocco and is fully committed to cooperating in the interest of our mutual prosperity and security and to jointly address common challenges. The European Union will also use this privileged partnership to continue addressing migration, including -and particularly- the respect of migrants’ human rights. And we will do so reinforcing our dialogue and concertation, confident that this will lead to better political and humanitarian results and make sure that similar events will not happen again.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-207031