Pittella: Some positive steps but the EU needs a real common migration policy based on solidarity

The new tragedy in the Mediterranean is a further dramatic demonstration that the EU cannot be helpless when thousands of refugees put their lives at risk to flee from poverty and violence

Following the extraordinary summit of the European Council on the humanitarian crisis linked to migration in the Mediterranean Sea, the president of the Socialists and Democrats Group, Gianni Pittella, stated:

"With approximately one thousand migrant deaths at sea in the space of a week, finally EU member states have taken some concrete steps on the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. However, the question whether the European Council will move from mere words to action, and set up a common European migration policy based on a real solidarity remains to be seen.

"We welcome the decision to triple the resources available to Triton, enhancing its operational capability, as well as the commitment of some EU leaders to send vessels, aircraft and experts to the Mediterranean to facilitate the search and rescue operations.

"Nevertheless, we cannot hide our concern and disappointment regarding the persistent and short-minded political selfishness on the issue of migrants’ burden-sharing, and on the lack of any approach that respects humanitarian and human rights. The Dublin regulation is anachronistic and ineffective. It must be updated to reflect the current dramatic situation.

"Last but not least, we are confident that Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, will be able to draw up a resolute plan to fight smugglers in the framework of a legal mandate from the UN. However, it must be crystal clear to everybody that even if the EU succeed to demolish every single boat able to set sail from Libyan ports, this will not eradicate the roots of the problem. As long as millions of African people are obliged to run away from poverty, dictatorship, war and violence, the migratory flows will never stop. If we fail to react properly to this humanitarian tragedy, the EU's dignity will sink along with the lives of thousands of people.

"We Socialists and Democrats demand a long-term strategy in Africa as the best way to finally stabilize the African continent and to deal with the root causes of this humanitarian crisis."