Lampedusa tragedy: "Blame lies with EU governments", say S&D Group

Lampedusa boat disaster

The European Council and national governments came under sustained attack today in Strasbourg, during a debate on the recent Lampedusa boat disaster.
Voicing the grief and disappointment of the European Socialists and Democrats at this further shocking refugee tragedy, S&D vice-president Sylvie Guillaume said:
"This is a time of mourning, but it is also time to face our own responsibilities as legislators. The blame for this tragedy lies on the conscience of the EU governments who over the last few years have always been very keen to act swiftly on repressive measures, but have blocked in the Council any other piece of legislation passed by the EU Parliament to improve the flows of legal migration."
She listed a number of directives still waiting for adoption by EU governments, on seasonal workers, intra-corporate transferees and the entry and residence conditions of non-EU researchers, students, trainees and au-pairs. Moreover, she pointed out that it took two years before the Council gave its green light to the new asylum rules.
"The sinking of a crowded boat carrying 500 refugees and migrants desperately trying to get to Europe is the direct consequence of the failure of EU governments to deliver adequate and effective legal alternatives.
"We a need a comprehensive and consistent approach otherwise all our efforts will be meaningless".
Claude Moraes, S&D spokesperson on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, called on the Commission and Council to take the lead on this issue:
"Member states must assume their responsibilities – it is European borders that are being crossed and an EU response that is needed.
"The S&D Group calls for this issue to be addressed at the highest political level and put on the agenda of the next EU Council meeting. We only need to look at the UN report on management of the external borders of the European Union and its impact on the migrants to realise that consistently placing security above human rights in our legislation does not work.
"The Commission must clearly indicate what proposals they will put forward to tackle this problem and approach this issue in a co-ordinated way and from all policy angles".