EUROPE needs to unite in the face of the Syrian refugee crisis – not squabble over how many migrants each country is willing to help.
That is the plea from the UK’s armed forces minister, Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt.
It comes as foreign ministers from eastern European countries launch crisis talks into the deepening plight of the migrants who are fleeing their war-ravaged home country. Over the past few days, thousands of refugees have poured into Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, most with the hope of reaching Germany.
But the situation has exposed deep divisions among the EU states, with some now opting to close their borders to migrants in an effort to stem the flow.
Speaking to The News, Ms Mordaunt has called on a ‘joined-up’ strategy to dealing with the crisis.
‘It needs a co-ordinated approach,’ she said. ‘This is a time when Europe really needs to work together.’
Speaking of the UK’s own aid effort, Ms Mordaunt said that the nation would continue with its plan to rescue thousands of people from refugee camps on the Syrian border.
She added: ‘Ultimately we have to tackle the cause of this and it will take a long time for that to happen but never let it be said again that these wars that are going on in other countries are nothing to do with us – the wars have a direct effect on the things which matter to our country and we’re now seeing the consequences of leaving the situation.’
Her comments came days after a formal dinner at Portsmouth Naval Base where the MP praised the Royal Navy for its ‘incredible’ efforts in helping to save refugees in the Mediterranean.
During the meal, Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I want to thank you for all you do to uphold and defend freedom in this world.’
It’s not only the city’s military which has been helping refugees. Hundreds of residents have also rallied, donating food, clothes and water. To donate, visit Al’Burrito, in Albert Road, Southsea; Made With Hartt, in Elm Grove, Southsea, and Thousands Hill chilli sauce factory in Fareham.