Moria showed it clearly, but you can observe it everywhere across the continent, even here in Belgium. We deliberately create suffering and hardship to dissuade people from coming. We force them into horrible conditions, providing hardly any shelter, sanitation or medical care. We force parents to bring up their children under tent roofs, with the smell of garbage around them, and screams in the night.
We punish those who ask for our help, breaching international law, and failing our own ethical standards.
And why? Because we are afraid. We are afraid to come up with a better solution, with a better asylum system. We decided that the only solution we can think of is what I call a policy of deterrence by systematic suffering. I hope we can ask the people of Moria for forgiveness, and at least grant these 12,000 asylum elsewhere in Europe. Asylum from the horrors of Moria.
And next week, we have the chance for a fresh start. The European Commission will finally present its New Pact on Migration and Asylum. As Europe, we have a choice: persist with the deterrence policy that causes systematic suffering OR deliver an effective and humane asylum policy. A policy that actually works.
A policy that does not finance camps, but closes them and finds systemic solutions, where people can live under an actual roof in communities that welcome them. Where parents can raise their children with hope and dignity. I think it’s time we build such a system and I know it is possible.