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EU must show "collective compassion" in response to refugee crisis

Published: 5 Sep 2015 14:10

Hyslop addresses British Irish Association.

Scotland's External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop has welcomed the strong speech by the Taoiseach, Mr Enda Kenny TD, in which he stressed the importance of Britain's membership of the EU and of seeing the EU as a framework for solidarity and peace as well as for economic benefit.

Speaking, like the Taoiseach, at a meeting of the British Irish Association in Cambridge, Ms Hyslop called Mr Kenny's speech an important intervention in the EU debate in calling for the UK to remain a member.

Ms Hyslop underlined the importance of the EU responding collectively and compassionately to the refugee crisis. Solidarity and support, she said, lie at the heart of why EU membership matters to people, and that that has been at its strongest in the public's response to the current refugee crisis, as well as the response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year.

Addressing the meeting, Ms Hyslop said.

"The big challenges of the day and in the future are climate change, sustainable job growth for young people and the social agenda of displaced people, refugees and migrants. This all needs a collective response, not isolationism, inward procrastination and abdication of responsibilities.

"The sense of being European and the need for Europe and the European Union to act on our behalf has been at its strongest on two specific occasions recently. First, the reaction in Scotland – as elsewhere – to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and again this week with the growing call for collective compassion and action from our leaders in Scotland, the UK and the EU.

"We must always remember that solidarity and support lie at the heart of why EU membership matters to people. We as the Scottish Government are ready to play our part to help people in need and our First Minister held a summit yesterday which called on others – most particularly the UK Government – to do the same. "