Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Measures to tackle the flow of refugees as a result of the conflict in Syria

Delivered in Plenary - 9 October 2013

Mr President

All Members of this House will observe the situation in Syria, which is tragic, with absolute horror and want to express their deepest compassion for the two million or so Syrian refugees and displaced persons and try to help however possible.

In previous resolutions we have called on the international community to assist Syria’s neighbours to cope with the influx, but of course it is only fair that the EU should also do its bit with maximum assistance, particularly financial and technical, in aiming to temporarily settle the refugees in Turkey and Jordan. Ultimately the solution to allowing the displaced people back to Syria is to seek a political solution to this terrible civil war and encourage all parties to the Geneva peace talks.

However, my delegation, the British Conservatives, do not accept the use of the EU Temporary Protection Order mechanism when managing large flows of refugees, as this would potentially impose a quota of refugees on the UK, possibly against our wishes. We believe that asylum and immigration policies must be left under the control of national Member States and, in this case, the UK Government. So overall, I with my Conservative colleagues abstained on the final vote.