Parliamentary questions
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9 September 2019
O-000024/2019

Question for oral answer O-000024/2019

to the Council

Rule 136

Juan Fernando López Aguilar

on behalf of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs


  Subject: Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean

According to IOM[1], by 28 August the total number of deaths in the Mediterranean Sea in 2019 amounted to 909. On 29 March 2019 the Council extended EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia’s mandate until 30 September, but limited it to air operations, while maritime operations (vessels) were suspended. Italy has closed its ports to people rescued at sea, and has considerably reduced its search and rescue coordination activities in the Mediterranean. With the Commission’s support, a number of Member States are receiving those rescued on the basis of an ad hoc distribution mechanism that requires crews and those rescued to remain on the high seas for several days, if not weeks, before they are allowed to enter a safe haven. Parliament’s resolution of April 2016 on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic EU approach to migration pointed out that ‘private shipmasters or non-governmental organisations who genuinely assist persons in distress at sea should not risk punishment for providing such assistance’. In July 2018, Parliament asked the Commission to provide the Member States with guidelines preventing the criminalisation of humanitarian assistance.

Against this backdrop, Parliament asks the Council to specify the support it provides to reinforce search and rescue capacities in the Mediterranean:

 with regard to coordination activities in the Mediterranean;

 by clarifying which forms of facilitation should not be criminalised by Member States, and

 by contributing to finding a solution to the distribution of people rescued at sea in accordance with the principle of solidarity and a fair sharing of responsibility.

Submitted: 9.9.2019

Forwarded: 10.9.2019

Lapses: 1.10.2019

[1]  https://www.iom.int/news/mediterranean-migrant-arrivals-reach-46521-2019-deaths-reach-909

 

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