Migration: Pressure mounts on Council and new Commission to act
With the launch of Triton, the new Frontex mission in the Mediterranean, on 1st November, pressure is mounting on EU Governments and the new Juncker Commission to ensure that all search and rescue obligations are fulfilled and that new safe, legal entry channels for migrants are developed urgently.
During today's meeting of the European Parliament committee on civil liberties, MEPs decided to ask the EU Council and Commission to address these issues at the next plenary session in Strasbourg.
Explanations are sought as to how they plan to ensure that refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean are fairly distributed among all EU countries and that their rights are upheld, on the detailed use of emergency funds and on the long-term funding of the Triton mission in order to clarify how they plan to improve the overall strategy of cooperation with third countries, particularly regarding the dramatic situation in Libya and Syria.
S&D vice-president Tanja Fajon MEP said:
"There is an urgent need to foster solidarity and develop an acceptance of fair sharing of responsibility towards Mediterranean member states and other member states of final destination that receive the highest numbers of refugees and asylum seekers.
"We expect the Council and the Commission to explain how they intend to ensure effective rescue operations and fight against the criminal behaviour of smugglers and traffickers.
"We also have to guarantee effective common standards for reception procedures and qualification throughout the EU in order to protect the most vulnerable and encourage the social inclusion of refugees.
"We have to stop the EU's shameful Immigration Policy. We will keep a close eye on the new Juncker Commission and its commitment to develop adequate legal migration channels. Time is running out to improve our approach to migration"
Birgit Sippel MEP, S&D spokesperson on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, added:
"If national governments really want Frontex to take over the tasks of Mare Nostrum they must also give more money and operational support.
"We want more solidarity at European borders but member states need to act accordingly. Frontex needs adequate funding and a clear mandate for rescue at sea."