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The European Council’s emergency meeting yesterday decided on four key measures to be taken in response to the human tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea. The EU leaders have asked Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative, to propose action to capture and destroy the smugglers’ vessels before they can be used “in accordance with international law”. They called for efforts to combat smuggling networks in cooperation with Europol, and for the deployment of so called immigration officers to third countries.

 

The European Council also decided to triple the resources available to the EU border mission in the Central Mediterranean (the Triton operation) under the label „Strengthening our presence at sea”. The border mission will receive further support through the supply of additional vessels, aircrafts and experts by Member States.

The EU wants to limit the inflow and tackle the cause of irregular migration. Cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, especially the countries around Libya, should be reinforced and a new return programme created. The EU aims to offer more protection to refugees from conflict regions by setting up a voluntary pilot project on resettlement across the EU, offering places to persons qualifying for protection. And this is generously called “Reinforcing internal solidarity and responsibility”.

The decisions could not have been more disappointing for those who still believe that the EU is based on values. The only sensible element among these measures is border protection which is per se not to be contested, but it aims to calm the fear factor of public opinion. In reality this opinion is much more positive in most EU Member States than the hate speech of populists, racists and right wing politicians echoed in the media would lead us to believe. The root causes of migration will not be tackled, and the measures fail to address the primary and overriding goal of saving lives and undermining irregular migration by creating humanitarian corridors and legalising access.

The conclusions could easily be summed up by the old Roman slogan “Morituri te salutant” – those about to die salute you – the EU in this case. Is this still our EU? EP President Martin Schulz is right when he states that these policies turn the Mediterranean Sea into a graveyard and when he stresses “We must fight the causes of migration, not the migrants”. We count on the European Parliament to make a strong statement in its plenary session next week in Strasburg and we will contribute to mobilising civil society to contest the measures. 23 April 2015 was a sad day for Humanists and those who still believe in the values that constituted the EU more than 50 years ago!

 

source: http://www.solidar.org/Editorial-by-Conny-Reuter-SOLIDAR,1776.html

Date posted: Thursday April 30th, 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on The EU’s reaction to the deaths in the Mediterranean: Too little too late!

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