"We need to strengthen our Search and Rescue (SAR) capabilities in the Mediterranean Sea in order to save more lives. SAR is a serious issue for which we need effective proposals that the three EU Institutions could work on”, said Lena Düpont MEP, expressing disappointment in the Resolution on Search and Rescue to be voted on by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee today (Monday).
“It is irresponsible to table an insubstantial text when we need workable solutions in order to actually improve the situation and save more lives.
“We need to urgently step up the fight against organised criminals and human traffickers who profit by exploiting vulnerable people. This Resolution does the opposite by ludicrously calling for Frontex to share intelligence about operational activities with every boat in the Mediterranean. That would endanger more lives by facilitating, instead of dismantling, the business models of people smugglers. Therefore, we cannot vote in favour of it”, MEP Düpont said.
The EPP Group went into negotiations on this important Resolution in good faith, in order to improve the text and ensure it was factually correct. However, as important concerns on content or a lack thereof were not heeded, the EPP Group will table an alternative Resolution.
“We want a coherent EU position on Search and Rescue, and this Resolution does not live up to that”, Ms Düpont underlined.
Frontex and Member States must act swiftly, with increased capacity building in the short term, to save lives in the Mediterranean, according to Ms Düpont. NGOs should also be part of the solution in accordance with international law, in respect of responsible rules and standards to be agreed at EU level and in cooperation with Member States’ authorities and Frontex.
In terms of wider migration and asylum policy, MEP Düpont added: “The EU must clearly distinguish between economic migrants and refugees with safe and legal pathways for those in need of humanitarian protection.”
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 182 Members from 26 Member States