Mediterranean tragedies: Civil Liberties MEPs call on EU leaders for concrete action to save lives
Ahead of the extraordinary European Council meeting on Thursday, the Chair of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee with responsibility for migration and related issues such as the EU border agency Frontex and asylum policy, Claude Moraes (S&D, UK), said:
"The European Parliament opposed the scrapping of Mare Nostrum without a credible replacement to save lives in the Mediterranean. We warned that Operation Triton would be inadequate and cost lives and we were proved right. Now I expect to see the Member States stick to the ten-point plan [presented by Commissioner Avramopoulos on 20 April] including a comprehensive search and rescue operation and a plan to manage refugee flows with compassion. However we have been here before - Member States have abandoned the principle of 'responsibility sharing ' when the media spotlight has dimmed - this time it must be different and the Civil Liberties Committee will do its part".
The Civil Liberties Committee co-rapporteurs on the upcoming strategic own-initiative report on the situation in the Mediterranean and the need for a holistic approach to migration said:
Roberta Metsola (EPP, Malta): "EU Prime Ministers now need to translate these ten points into urgent concrete action that serves to save lives and dismantles human trafficking networks - there is no more time for more statements which gather dust, Member States need to act now. This needs to be part of an all-encompassing strategy that shares the responsibility of migration between all 28 EU Member States and is supplemented by long-term measures that address all the different aspects of migration".
Kashetu Kyenge (S&D, Italy): "In the face of the recurring tragedies in the Mediterranean we need urgent action in three key areas. First, we must step up and enlarge search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean coordinated at EU level, a European Mare Nostrum, with additional resources being provided by all Member States to ensure that no more lives are lost. Second, we need an emergency relocation mechanism as the ultimate expression of intra-EU solidarity to allow for the relocation of refugees once they are disembarked so that the burden is shared between the Member States. Third, we need a credible EU wide-resettlement scheme with sufficient numbers to enable refugees to have safe and legal access to the EU instead of being forced into the hands of criminal traffickers and smugglers in Libya and elsewhere".