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UK should opt in to EU Refugee Scheme

Published: 9 Sep 2015 16:49

Minister for Europe responds to President Juncker

Scotland's Minister for Europe has called on the UK Government to opt in to the EU refugee relocation scheme announced by President Juncker today.

Commenting on the speech by President Juncker at this morning's State of the Union address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Humza Yousaf, Minister for Europe and International Development, said:

"The time to take action is now, the UK has a moral obligation to help some of the most vulnerable people that are coming to Europe seeking protection. We cannot turn our back on innocent men, women and children in their moment of need.

"People across the UK have been moved by the horrendous images we continue to see, generations of families on the move in search of somewhere safe and desperately looking for somewhere they are welcome and accepted.

"Scotland stands ready to accept its fair share of refugees and we are again urging the UK Government to opt in to this EU relocation scheme and help our neighbours and European partners on the mainland cope with this humanitarian crisis.

"The Scottish Government believes that the UK Government's announcement of 20,000 refugees exclusively from camps neighbouring Syria by 2020 is too little and will in some cases be too late. We need further detail from the UK Government as to how they plan to help those caught up in this state of emergency."

Mr Yousaf added:

"President Juncker is right when he said that we 'needed to remember that Europe has had its own refugee crises in the past with people fleeing from war, persecution, especially during the conflicts of the last century', I know that people across Scotland would echo his comments that 'Europe today represents a place of hope for people in need and we should be proud of this'.

"Responding to this crisis we have set up a taskforce, which met for the first time yesterday and it is reassuring to see that the majority of Scotland's 32 councils have already indicated a willingness to accommodate refugees affected by the current humanitarian crisis. Scotland is a caring and compassionate country and we stand ready to help in any way we can."