A delegation of the EP's Security and Defence Subcommittee, led by its chair Anna Fotyga (ECR, PL), assessed the security situation in the Mediterranean on visit to Italy, 17-19 July.

Amidst the migration crisis challenging Italy these days, MEPs visited the central and regional headquarters of Frontex operation Triton in Rome and Catania, held discussions with  the representatives of the central and local government and paid a visit on board of ITS San Giusto, the flagship of the Operation EUNAVFOR MED Sophia. They discussed with operation officers, Italian authorities and navy officers the challenges they face in conducting surveillance, search and rescue tasks at sea, in fighting smugglers and traffickers and, overall, in safeguarding maritime security in the Central Mediterranean.

 

For the first time ever, Defence MEPs also visited the Allied Joint Force Command of NATO in Naples to get first-hand experience on NATO’s support to ongoing EU naval operations aimed at enhancing maritime security in the region. Following last year 's Warsaw declaration on better EU-NATO cooperation, MEPs are closely following the concrete examples of this strategic partnership and observed now the practical cooperation on the ground.

 

After the visit Mrs. Fotyga said: “We express our great appreciation  for the dedication and tireless work of the men and women, of authorities in Italy and from the EU Institutions and Member States, in coping with the challenges of this unprecedented migration flow. Europe can not and will not leave Italy alone in this endeavour. We are convinced that the root causes of migration have to be tackled in Africa, which requires more attention by Europe, better perspectives for the youth and business opportunities to the African economies."

 

The delegation, led by Mrs Fotyga, was composed of Ivo Belet (EPP, BE), Lorenzo Cesa (EPP, IT), Doru Frunzulică (S&D, RO) and Salvatore Pogliese (EPP, IT).