S&D Group calls on EU summit to discuss Mediterranean tragedy
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 in their countries, said European Socialists and Democrats today in Strasbourg.
Ahead of a plenary debate on asylum and the role of Frontex, the EU border patrol agency, MEP Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, stated:
"This new tragedy is a shame on the EU governments. Border control cannot be the only answer to the humanitarian challenges we face today. This challenge cannot be addressed merely when and if these people make it to our shores.
"The EU leaders must urgently address this issue in their summit and agree rules on search and rescue to be properly implemented by all member states, not only during joint Frontex missions.
"Secondly, the European conservatives have to understand that we urgently need routes for safe and legal access to the EU. The conservatives want to prevent migrants from leaving, failing to recognise that these people are leaving anyway. We want to prevent migrants from dying at sea or being exploited by human traffickers.
"Thirdly, we need a new approach in the European asylum policy, from the top to the end. This means, for example, ensuring that Frontex's patrols respect migrants’ rights at the EU’s borders, and notably their right of seeking asylum. But also a real common European resettlement system with quotas for each Member State, possibly based on their size and GDP".