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Parliamentary questions
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6 November 2019
Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-002471/2019

Saving lives has always been a Commission’s priority. Since 2015, 4 EU operations have helped to rescue nearly 760 000 people at sea. Out of these 4 operations, 3 operations — Themis, Poseidon and Indalo –, coordinated by the European Border and Coast Guard, continue to fully operate. The commitment to save lives does not start when people are on the boats or at our border. The comprehensive strategy to prevent irregular migratory flows also includes measures to assist migrants in third countries before they embark on dangerous journeys, to thwart the activities of smugglers and to provide for alternative legal pathways.

The EU is also one of the main contributors to global resettlement efforts. Resettlements to the EU are part of the current EU scheme funded by the EU to resettle 50 000 people in need of international protection from December 2017 by the end of 2019, including from Libya and Niger. Over 39 300 persons have already been resettled under this scheme. The EU encourages Member States to speed up resettlements and to increase the number of resettlement places offered for persons in Libya or for evacuees in Niger, including in a recent joint letter sent to Member States signed by the High Representative and Vice-President Mogherini and Commissioner Avramopoulos in July 2019 following the airstrike of the Tajoura detention centre.

As outlined in the recently adopted Migration Progress Report, since 2017, more than 49,000 migrants have been assisted to return voluntarily home with the support of International Organisation for Migration (IOM) from Libya and over 4 000 persons needing international protection have been evacuated out of Libya through the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) supported by the Taskforce of the African Union-EU-United Nations.(1) Since its creation in 2017, the Taskforce has contributed to providing safe corridors to Europe and protecting migrants and refugees. This is supported by substantial EU funding under the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF for Africa). The Taskforce has repeatedly called on the Libyan authorities to close all detention centres and to create safe spaces for migrants and manage asylum and migration in compliance with Human Rights and international law. In addition, the EU Trust Fund for Africa is supporting partner countries to improve the Standard Operational Procedures for Search and Rescue operations through training and capacity development with the aim to save lives at sea and stop the tragic deaths in the Mediterranean Sea.

(1)COM(2019) 481 final.

Last updated: 6 November 2019Legal notice