Hannes Swoboda: "The tragedy in Lampedusa must be a wake-up call for Europe"
The Socialists and Democrats will next Wednesday in Strasbourg call on EU governments to step up efforts to make a common immigration policy a reality.
S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda said:
"The tragedy in Lampedusa must be a wake-up call for Europe. Expressing compassion and solidarity is not enough.
"The deaths in Lampedusa must make Europe face up to its responsibilities. We should start by using the systems we already have but above all we must show solidarity.
"We have to reinforce co-operation with the countries immigrants arrive from and support their economic and social development; there are still so many things to be done.
"Relations must also be intensified with the countries people travel through. This should also include support for managing borders, especially the borders on the Mediterranean Sea. The EU should also think about opening up additional legal channels for immigration in order to meet the needs of its labour market.
"Moreover, we have to accept that external borders – especially those on the Mediterranean Sea that cannot be easily controlled – have to be seen as common European borders with common responsibilities.
"Finally, when a country is faced with an emergency situation, then all EU member states must be obliged to help and give support.
"In light of what happened in Lampedusa, it is now clear that we need to use the review clause included in the EU budget for 2014-2020's agreement to increase funding for an effective EU immigration policy."