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 Full text 
Wednesday, 23 October 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

Search and rescue in the Mediterranean (debate)

  Tineke Strik (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, at sea every minute counts. It’s hard to imagine that we would leave EU citizens in danger of drowning, floating in a rubber dinghy without any help. Yet this is what we do with migrants on a daily basis. But international maritime law obliges also the EU, as a party to the UNCLOS Treaty, to take responsibility for an adequate search and rescue. That requires sufficient capacity in the Mediterranean Sea, rapid coordination of the rescue, and disembarkation to a place of safety.

As Libya is not safe, we cannot fund and organise their return to Tripoli without violating international law. What we should do instead is help migrants escape from this hell. This requires all Member States to take their responsibility and humanitarian assistance to be supported instead of criminalised.

I urge the Commission to base its new arrangements on these principles, make it permanent, and make it swift. But please ensure saving lives and disembarkation in the meantime, as every minute counts.

Last updated: 18 November 2019Legal notice