Metsola, on EU migration management: «My biggest fear is that we will continue to see refugees as numbers».

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, speaks at an event open to the public with young people at the Instituto de Empresa on January 27, 2023, in Madrid, Spain. – Fernando Sánchez – Europa Press

The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, said Friday that her greatest fear when it comes to addressing migration management by the European Union is that «we continue to see people seeking refuge as if they were numbers» and insisted on the importance of «not forgetting that for some people Europe is the only hope».

«So far we have not found a single solution to this,» he said in relation to the European migration pact, in which he has said he fervently believed on several occasions. «Is it easy? No, of course not. But we have a responsibility as human beings; to recognize that for a large part of the world where there are no free elections, hunger persists and wars continue, Europe is the only hope,» he said during a meeting with young voices at the Instituto de Empresa during his visit to Madrid.

Thus, he stressed the importance of «looking beyond and not only within» the borders of the EU. «The easiest thing is to build walls, but when we do it we also build walls in our minds», he warned before asserting that «this is the main challenge for leaders».

«We have to do a lot from a legal point of view, there are many laws on the table, but we have to reach an agreement. There are 7 million Ukrainians who have had to leave the country, 3 million of them are still in the EU», he said in relation to the exodus caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In this sense, he has stated that the community bloc «found solidarity when it realized that the states depend on each other for energy issues». «When we stop talking to people we lose our solidarity, and this is the main challenge for Europe in 2023,» he said.

«We need a better migration system. We have to be fair to people who come to Europe seeking protection and be firm with those who do not,» he continued before roundly condemning human trafficking.

REITERATES THE IMPORTANCE OF SPAIN’S ROLE In relation to his visit to Spain, where he met with King Felipe VI and the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, among others, Metsola stressed that the country is «vital for everything that is done in Europe», especially in view of the Spanish presidency of the European Council, a position that the country will assume in the second half of this year.

In general terms, the President of the European Parliament admitted that 2023 is «a difficult year», especially after «almost a year of war on our continent», and stressed that Ukraine «looks at Europe as its home and fights for our values».

«Of course, the economic and social consequences of the war are great. We have to see how dependent we were on Russian gas, but also highlight countries like Spain, which are less dependent,» he has explained.

Metsola recalled his trip to Ukraine shortly after the beginning of the war and stressed that it is a «brutal and illegal aggression» against a population that «still considers Europe to be its hope». «There are currently millions of Ukrainians without electricity, drinking water or basic services because they are being bombed,» he denounced.