Waiting until the October EU summit to discuss migration would be outrageous, says the Socialist (S&D) group in the European Parliament.
While the Mediterranean Sea continued witnessing many human tragedies in the absence of a proper response at European level, the arrival of thousands of migrants to Europe through the Italian and Greek coasts is no longer sustainable, both for the stability of Italy, of Greece and of Europe as a whole.
The figures speak for themselves: more than 60,000 migrants in Italy by sea in the first five months of 2017, with more than 1,500 reported to have died in the Mediterranean. The number of migrants from Libya this year is on course to exceed the 200,000 recorded last year.
Hence, the EU Socialists decided to address a letter to the president of the European Council, urging Donald Tusk to call for an immediate and extraordinary Council summit in order to provide a concrete and common response to the migration crisis.
The S&D Group has also sent a letter to the Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, and the Home Affairs Minister, Marco Minniti, to express full solidarity and great appreciation for the job done so far by the Italian authorities in saving, identifying and hosting refugees.
The president of the S&D Group, Gianni Pittella, said:
“The S&D Group urges the president of the European Council to call for an extraordinary summit in order to give an immediate and concrete answer to the migration crisis that dramatically affects not only Italy, but the political and social stability of the whole of Europe. It would be an outrageous mistake and a dreadful message to send to European citizens, to wait until 18 October to call for the next EU Council meeting.
“It is indispensable to finally apply the relocation mechanism to all third countries’ nationalities. The Dublin System must be also revised and updated to the current situation and, in the long run, Europe must increase its commitment to stabilize Libya and further invest in Africa in order to truly contain the causes of these enormous migratory flows. The Triton Operation seems ill equipped with the necessary financial resources and focuses too much on guarding borders, instead of rescuing human lives.
“Meanwhile, Italy’s neighbours have de facto closed their borders in an attempt to keep migrants from moving northwards. Some other EU partners, such as Poland and Hungary, have refused to step up to their duties by not agreeing to host asylum-seekers. Others have refused to open their Mediterranean harbours; not even to a single rescue ship. This is not acceptable. Those who refuse must take the political and moral responsibility for undermining not only the social and political stability of Italy, but also that of Europe as a whole.
“Such an outrageous situation cannot continue. Silence or void solutions are useless now. European Institutions along with all member states must face this challenge together. The future of our Union is at stake.”
These concerns were also expressed to the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Sven Mikser, currently holding the EU Presidency.