Immediate European action and more integration required to prevent further loss of lives at European borders
JEF-Europe | Young European Federalists
Brussels, 20 April 2015
At the beginning of the third week of April 2015, 400 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean sea while attempting to flee poverty, war and insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. At the end of the third week of April 2015, 700 more migrants lost their lives when their small boat capsized, bringing the total death toll to more than 1500 men, women, and children since the beginning of the year.
The EU Triton operation was never intended to replace the Italian “Mare Nostrum” border control and rescue operation, which was cancelled in October last year. Triton has less than a third of the budget of the Mare Nostrum operation and is criticized by international aid groups, NGO’s and Italian authorities because of its inadequacy to prevent this loss of human life. “The Member States’ refusal for more integration regarding immigration is baffling. The problems at our common borders require common action, and the weight of management of our common borders should not be shouldered by single member states that are already struggling under the financial crisis. European solidarity requires that Member States cooperate to do better, and support each other to avoid this loss of human life” says Pauline Gessant, President of JEF Europe.
“During the financial crisis there was plenty of willingness for integration of fiscal policy. Why is there such silence about integration of immigration and border policy during this humanitarian crisis? This is the most tragic failure of the European project and should make those who have opposed such integration in the past feel ashamed” adds Peter Oomsels, Vice President of JEF Europe.
Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, will discuss urgent action on Monday with the EU’s foreign ministers. “We remind everyone who will participate in this meeting of Edmund Burke’s words; “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” If EU Member States continue to close their eyes to the loss of life at their common borders, if they continue to egoistically focus on their national concerns and refuse to work together to save the lives of thousands of migrants that are trying to escape humanitarian crises, both the European project and its Member States will be judged in the harshest terms”, says Gessant.
We call for concrete action by the EU and its Member States. The objectives of further integration proposed by the annual reports on immigration of the European Commission must be achieved as soon as possible. This will require a significant European budget financed by own resources and managed by the High Representative and the External Action Service. This budget must be used to implement immediately a pro-active rescue policy and pursue further European integration of immigration and border management. Furthermore, the violation of human dignity and breaches of articles 3 and 13 of the ECHR in reception and detention centers must be firmly condemned. Finally, there needs to be more concerted European action against organised crime and human trafficking across the common borders of the EU.
“The Mediterranean ‘cemetery of Europe’ confronts us with the reality of a divided Europe with little solidarity. We mourn the loss of life, and hope that Member states will take concrete action to integrate immigration and border policy. We hope that the ‘cemetery of Europe’ can become a thing of the past, when tragedies were fostered by a divided Europe, while we continue on the path of ever closer European Union”, concludes Gessant.