Roth calls Europe’s refugee policy ‘shabby’

The head of Germany’s environmentalist Green Party, Claudia Roth, slammed the EU’s stance on refugees and asylum-seekers as the party wrapped up a weekend conference to prepare for European elections in June.

Roth calls Europe's refugee policy 'shabby'
Photo: DPA

Speaking at the party conference in Dortmund over the weekend, Roth said Europe couldn’t be allowed to decay into a hub for the elite and lobbyists but rather had to become a home for people and human rights.

Calling the EU’s policy on refugees “shabby,” Roth said the bloc wasn’t protecting refugees from dangers but rather itself from refugees. “We cannot build a fortress,” Roth said, referring to the EU’s strict patrols and laws at its porous southern borders to keep out potential immigrants from arriving illegally by sea from poor African nations.

Roth called for comprehensive policies to protect refugees across the EU’s 26 member states, adding that people seeking refuge in Europe were often criminalised.

“Europe has to become more democratic,” Roth said, urging more voter participation and referendums across Europe and more transparent political process. She warned that too many European citizens felt a “dangerous distance” from the EU.

During the conference the party elected former party head Reinhard Bütikofer, and Rebecca Harms as their candidates for European parliamentary elections on June 7.

Calling their campaign concept, “New Deal,” the party said it would focus on investments in education and energy-efficient technologies and a more humane coexistence.

“Europe needs more Green in order to avoid squandering its potential for the future,” Bütikofer said.