Europe should focus on saving lives when dealing with migration, said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a speech at the European Parliament on 27 May. During the plenary session he called attention to the 1,800 people who drowned while crossing the Mediterranean this year: “Europe has an important role to play and a collective responsibility to act. Saving lives should be the priority.” He also discussed sustainable development and preventing violent extremism.
Ban said more effective law enforcement measures against traffickers and smugglers would not be enough and that a more comprehensive approach was needed. He also pointed out Europe needed migrants due to its low population growth and aging population.
The UN General Secretary also discussed the issue of dealing with violent extremism: “Upholding human rights and the rule of law are essential. We must always be mindful of our special responsibility to avoid responses to terrorism and violent extremism that make the problems worse.”
In addition Ban said landmark advances were needed in this year for sustainable development and that the EU had a special role to play: “Through its national commitments and climate and energy policy, the EU is blazing the trail to a safer, more prosperous low-carbon future for its people and our world.”
Introducing Ban, EP President Martin Schulz pledged the Parliament’s support for the UN’s work: “The European Union and this European Parliament share your organisation’s key goals: the combat against climate change and the fight against poverty, as well as your commitment to education and sustainable growth. In this fight we stand by your side.”