S&Ds welcome new information system to fight human trafficking and save migrants' lives at sea
The European Socialists and Democrats today in Strasbourg gave their strong support to a new information-exchange system for border controls (EUROSUR). The new system will explicitly aim to fight irregular migration, prevent and combat cross-border crime, and to protect migrants and save lives.
There is currently no common database for EU countries and the EU agency Frontex to share information on border controls.
S&D vice-president Sylvie Guillaume said:
"A few days after the Lampedusa tragedy, the EU is for the first time explicitly setting out that border controls must aim at fighting irregular immigration, cross-border crimes and human traffickers, but to also protect and save the lives of migrants.
"Our Group specifically insisted that EU countries should be obliged to give priority to the special needs of children, victims of trafficking, asylum seekers and persons in distress at sea, and these are now included in the rules adopted today.
"Moreover, the new EUROSUR regulation establishes that EU countries and Frontex shall comply with fundamental rights, including the principles of non-refoulement [prevention of refugees being sent back to dangerous situations], human dignity and data protection requirements, when exchanging information and acting on border controls. Our Group will closely follow its implementation to make sure that these principles are respected".
Romanian S&D MEP Ioan Enciu added:
"Lampedusa's tragedy has reminded us of the need for a common European migratory policy, bearing in mind the reality of the situation at our external borders. While existing tools should be reinforced, new ones must fully take into account the fact that our common borders give us a common responsibility towards the men and women who risk their lives to reach our shores.
"EUROSUR is one positive step in the on-going development of this coordinated common policy, with the aim of detecting, preventing and combating cross-border crime and human trafficking, but also by contributing to protecting and saving the lives of migrants. It is our responsibility to undertake everything in our power to stop tragedies, such as that at Lampedusa, happening.
"I believe that this balanced approach - which has driven the proposed first-reading agreement - is positive and ambitious, as well as responsible."