Pittella: Frontex points out that there is no evidence of terrorists' presence among migrants

Pittella: Frontex points out that there is no evidence of terrorists' presence among migrants, search and rescue of migrants, immigration, asylum, Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri, Pittella,

Following today's visit to the European agency Frontex in Warsaw, the president of the Socialists and Democrats Group at the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, stressed the group's full support to Frontex's efforts under its new strengthened mandate for the search and rescue of migrants.

During the meeting with Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri and key Frontex operational leaders, the absolute lack of evidence about terrorists' presence among migrants approaching the Southern European shores was highlighted.

"After having talked to the director of Frontex in Warsaw, it is necessary to stress that there is no and there was no evidence so far about terrorists' presence among migrants. As underlined by director Leggeri, the risk is always there, but thanks to the new strengthened cooperation between the national law enforcement authorities and all the responsible European agencies in charge of identification in the framework of the Hotspot system, this risk will be properly faced and taken under control. It is indeed unlikely that terrorists will be keen to risk dying by drowning or to be identified.

"It is now crucial for saving migrants' lives that member states respect their initial engagements, without any step backward, and provide the necessary financial and technical assets that would allow Frontex to collaborate with national authorities on the search, rescue and identification aspects. The exchange of intelligence information remains a fundamental tool that must be better enforced by European agencies and national services to eradicate smugglers networks."

Finally, the S&D Group reiterates its pledge that no migrant deserves to be treated a priori as a terrorist. EU citizens' security has to be assured but it cannot be exploited for political reasons as leverage against migrants, asylum seekers' rights and European values.