Pittella: New tragedy calls for EU to intervene now on the North African routes

People who provide humanitarian assistance to refugees should be celebrated not prosecuted

The S&D Group has called for immediate action to prevent more meaningless deaths in the Mediterranean after hundreds of migrants died trying to reach Europe. The right solution lies on the table as it has been formulated by the Italian government with the Migration compact.

S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:

“The new, umpteenth, tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea demonstrated that the migration crisis is far from being solved. It was easily foreseeable, with the summer approaching and the closing of the Balkan route, that more and more migrants will attempt the perilous sea crossing from North Africa. There is no more time to waste. Member states should make full use of the Migration Compact recently tabled by the Italian government. It should be examined as a matter of priority as it could turn out to be the very last lifeline for Europe. We call on the Foreign Council today to give a positive reaction to this.

"Our thoughts are with the families of all those who perished in the Mediterranean over the weekend. I would say that these deaths should be a wake-up call for Europe, but how many more wake-up calls does Europe need? It is over two and a half years since more than 500 migrants drowned off the coast of Lampedusa and six months since Aylan Kurdi's body washed up on a Turkish beach. Both of these were meant to be 'wake-up calls' or 'turning points' for Europe, yet in reality, despite the initial expressions of outrage and calls for action, far too little action has been taken. The Commission and national governments must now finally act to prevent more needless deaths."