Europarliament screens rescue operation in Mediterranean
To avoid migrants continuing to drown while trying to reach Italy, EU countries must offer their help the Members of the European Parliament suggest.
The Civil Liberties Committee held a hearing on search-and-rescue operations, the relations between the different actors including EU military vessels, Frontex staff and NGOs, the need to fight people smugglers as well as cooperation with Libyan authorities.
Italian Coast Guard Captain Sandro Gallinelli, Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri, as well as representatives of Doctors without Borders and Human Rights Watch presented the committee with their views.
Most MEPs in the debate defended the work of NGOs from criticism that their presence and rescue interventions are encouraging perilous journeys and even supporting human traffickers. Nevertheless, some MEPs also agreed that a code of conduct is needed to create order in operations at sea.
Many voiced doubts about the cooperation with Libya, pointing to the political instability in the country, the unreliability of its authorities and the heightened risk of abuse and violence faced by migrants who are returned to its shores.
Finally, most MEPs considered that a longer-term solution is needed, via a well-functioning asylum system, based on fair burden-sharing by all member states, combined with legal ways for migrating to the EU as well as a strategy to address the root causes of migration in the countries of origin.