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Friday, 25 October 2013

Lampedusa tragedy should be a wake-up call for EU migration policy

The latest refugee tragedies close to Lampedusa and Malta earlier this month should be considered as a turning point for European migration policy based on more solidarity and responsibility according to a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday 23 in Strasbourg.
Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader also called for a common EU migration policy: "Over the last 20 years, over 25,000 migrants and refugees have died in the Mediterranean sea. If we wish to avoid further tragedies, today's Heads of State and Government must assume their responsibilities  based on a three-pillar approach:
- increasing budgetary support for EU agencies like Frontex, Eurosur and EASO;
- developing a legal economic migration policy, similar to the US, Canada or Australia, to plug our skills gap and cracking down hard on human trafficking;
- tackling the root causes for the migration flows, especially from North Africa and Arab countries."
ALDE spokesperson and EP rapporteur on EUROSUR Jan Mulder (VVD, Netherlands) also called for a coherent and holistic European migration policy, arguing that there is no easy answer. He stressed the importance “to address the root causes, such as third countries' political instability and poverty, and stop focusing only on its symptoms if we really want to avoid yet more tragedies occurring. The EU must engage in closer cooperation with third countries under migration pressure and develop a more comprehensive strategy for their political and economic development
"Member States should also foresee heavy criminal sanctions for human traffickers and smugglers whilst lending assistance to migrants in distress", he underlined. In this respect the resolution calls for the EU and its Member States to amend any legislation sanctioning people for assisting migrants in distress at sea."

Source: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE)

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