Shaheen Calls Meeting of European Ambassadors to Discuss Refugee & Migration Crisis in Europe

September 17, 2015

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, called a meeting yesterday of Senators and European Ambassadors and senior diplomats to discuss the refugee and migration crisis in Europe, with specific attention paid to the recent surge in Syrian refugees. Representatives of the European Union, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom met on Capitol Hill to discuss ways for the United States and the EU to work together to address this crisis.

“The scenes of refugees desperately fleeing the horrific violence in Syria has weighed heavily on our hearts,” said Shaheen. “It was clear from our conversation that the refugee and migration crisis in Europe is tremendously complex. Addressing the causes, not just alleviating the effects‎, will require still greater resources, efforts and coordination from the EU and its member states. The U.S. must work closer with the EU, supporting international humanitarian efforts, and responsibly taking more refugees ourselves. Most importantly, we need to redouble our efforts to craft a Syria policy that can bring greater stability to that country and the region.”

Those Ambassadors and senior diplomats in attendance included:

Hon. David O'Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the U.S.

Hon. Hans Peter Manz, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to the U.S.

Hon. Peter Wittig, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the U.S.

Hon. Christos P. Panagopoulos, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic (Greece) to the U.S.

Hon. Peter John Westmacott, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the U.S.

Mr. Luca Franchetti Pardo, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Italian Republic

Ms. Nathalie Estival-Broadhurst, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of France

Senators in attendance included:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

Sen. Dick Durbin

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Sen. Joe Manchin

Sen. Richard Blumenthal

Sen. Tim Kaine

Sen. Chris Murphy

Sen. Ed Markey

The meeting comes as European nations deal with the overwhelming number of refugees entering their boarders. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that are now more than 4 million internally displaced Iraqis and Iraqi refugees and nearly 8 million internally displaced Syrians and another 4 million Syrian refugees.

In May, Senator Shaheen signed a letter to President Obama requesting that his administration accept more Syrian refugees and encourage other countries to do likewise. Recently, the administration announced that the United States would increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States this coming year to 10,000.