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 Full text 
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Humanitarian emergencies in the Mediterranean and solidarity in the EU (debate)

  Roberta Metsola, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, it is difficult not to be angry when we find ourselves in another summer, facing a situation that we warned would come. It is difficult not to be angry when we know that we can introduce laws on plastics and on litter, we can end roaming, we can even reform agriculture, but when it comes to migration, prime ministers remain stuck.

Our message to the Council must be clear: leave no space for more raised fists and banging on tables, no more victorious hashtags, no more children born on the high seas, no more lives used to prop up the wannabe strongmen of Europe. Things must change. Now, in the immediate term, we must reform our Dublin system to one that balances responsibility with solidarity. We need to ensure that our borders are secure and our coast guards have all the resources they need. We must break – as has just been said – traffickers’ models. We must draw distinctions between those in need of protection and those seeking work. Those who need protection must be given it, but equally, those who do not must be returned quickly.

On migration and borders, the budget has been tripled. This is welcome, but in the medium term, we need to think outside the box and look seriously into having EU-run disembarkation locations in safe third countries, with EU standards, where anyone saved from the dark sea can be disembarked immediately, rescued, vetted, processed in full recognition of their rights – by EASO, for example – and either returned or resettled. We have the money to do it and we must find the will to do it. In the longer term, we must move from aid for Africa to investment which creates jobs and creates hope and allows for education and entrepreneurship to flourish.

Let’s create a Union where Italy, Malta, Spain and Greece do not feel left alone to manage this; a system where desperate people in need of protection have a real chance, where children grow up to a future without fear. That is the Europe I want to see and that is the world I want my children to find.

Last updated: 20 September 2018Legal notice