With the adoption* of the Return Directive by the European Parliament today, "Europe has written one of the darkest pages of its history and can no longer be considered the cradle of human rights" said Italian GUE/NGL MEP Giusto Catania, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties.
"This text cancels out centuries of a civilization based on legitimacy and puts
Europe in the hands of a racist and xenophobic culture." MEP Catania regretted that the "principle of the criminalisation of migrants with the possibility of administrative detention of up to 18 months based on their nationality" had been endorsed by this vote.
"These ethnic prisons, where migrants can be legally locked up from today, will become the new symbol of this Fortress Europe," he concluded
"Europe has lost its credibility as a humane and caring union", said Sylvia-Yvonne Kaufmann, Vice-Chair of GUE/NGL,
) speaking after the vote. "As co-legislator, the European Parliament has the moral and legal obligation to fight for acceptable and humane rules. It should have taken its responsibilities fully and fought for these but instead the majority of its members let the Council impose its rules and push the directive through at first reading." (Germany
"Instead of extending practices which violate the human rights of third-country nationals illegally residing on European soil, Member States would have done better to find a sustainable solution to the issue of immigration," she said.
"The European Parliament missed an opportunity to demonstrate responsibility and to stand up to the Council," she concluded.
* The directive was adopted by 367 votes in favour, 206 against and 109 abstentions.
Source: Press release GUE/NGL, 18.06.08, www.guengl.eu