Question for oral answer to the Commission Rule 115 Kyriacos Triantaphyllides, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Alda Sousa, Marisa Matias, Patrick Le Hyaric, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group
Subject: Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea - who is responsible?
On 24 April 2012 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted its Resolution 1872(2012) entitled ‘Lives lost in the Mediterranean Sea: who is responsible?,’(1) which focuses on the tragedy involving a rubber boat carrying 73 people that left Tripoli on 26 March 2011, 63 of whom died on board. In addition, recently the news came of another boat fleeing Libya that drifted for 15 days in the Mediterranean, resulting in the deaths of all its occupants but for one survivor(2).
Does the Commission concur with the resolution’s conclusion that, taking into account the known facts, the two navy vessels that were in the vicinity of the boat should have taken action to save the lives of the people on board? What is the Commission’s view of the fact that Spain and Italy, the two Member States with navy vessels in the vicinity of the boat concerned, did not take action to save the lives of those on board? Is the Commission willing to ask why both Member States refrained from taking action? If not, why not?
Does the Commission concur with the resolution’s conclusion that, if a search and rescue zone is not covered because the state responsible for that zone fails to fulfil its legal duty ‘to render assistance’, then the state that receives the initial call for assistance is responsible for coordinating the search and rescue operation? If the Commission agrees with that conclusion, is it willing to ask the Italian authorities why they failed to coordinate a search and rescue operation in this case? If not, can the Commission indicate who it thinks should take on the responsibility of coordinating a search and rescue operation in such cases?
Can the Vice-President / High Representative indicate what she has done to give the PACE rapporteur access to information on the location of navy vessels in the region during the period concerned? Did the Vice-President / High Representative have any contact with NATO on this matter and, if so, what was its purpose and outcome? Is the Vice-President / High Representative willing to ensure that all relevant information concerning this incident, including satellite imagery, is provided to the relevant committee(s) in Parliament? If not, why not?
Is the Commission in favour of developing a European Union protocol for the Mediterranean region in order to tackle the issue of sharing responsibility, particularly in connection with rescue services and disembarkation?