junckerWhile Jean-Claude Juncker delivered yesterday his State of the Union speech proposing a second emergency mechanism to relocate a further 120,000 refugees, the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) is urgently calling for a better use of Structural and ENI funds to face the migration crisis in its regions.

Michelle Vauzelle, President of the Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (FR) and of the CPMR Inter-Mediterranean Commission addressed a letter to Jean-Claude Juncker stating: “There is currently a large amount of funds for European solidarity programmes 2007-2013 (cohesion policy and neighbourhood policy notably) that may be lost if they are not used up by the end of the year. While many European regions are lacking sufficient resources to face this unprecedented migration crisis, it would be unfortunate to lose these funds that could amount to several hundred million euros.”

In this sense, and taking into account its solidarity component, the Cohesion and Neighbourhood policies could provide the right means for responding quickly to the most pressing challenges of the migration crisis, helping in particular the most affected regions. Solidarity, the fight against racism and xenophobia, and socioeconomic integration are at the core of the CPMR awareness raising campaign “We are all Mediterranean”, launched in May 2015.

Annika Annerby Jansson, Vice-President of Region Skåne (SE) and Vice-President of CPMR in charge of migration policy, stated “In Strasbourg yesterday, Jean Claude Juncker said that we need more Europe in our asylum policy and more Union in our refugee policy. I think he is right, and the best way to proceed is by urging Member States to demonstrate more solidarity while empowering the regions in their efforts to deal with immediate emergencies and long term socio-economic integration measures”.