A revised Mare Nostrum for Europe

Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer, Co-Chairs of the European Green Party, comment on the latest news from the Mediterranean:

“We would like to express our condolences and solidarity to the families of the victims of this latest tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea. The lives lost do not simply represent ‘clandestine migrants’, but people who are, in many cases, escaping from war, violence and endless poverty. They have a right to be helped and rescued; Triton is not fit for this purpose, not only because of its limited resources, but also because it is finalized to protect the borders and not to rescue people.

“The illusion that stopping ‘Mare Nostrum’ would discourage these dangerous trips, proved false: Migrants and asylum seekers continued flocking to Europe at increasing rate. This situation will not change in the next weeks and months; the EU and its member states have to acknowledge that the priority should today be to save and give refuge to people and not to make ‘fortress Europe’ even more invalicable, also because this has been proven tragically impossible.

“There is no way around it: The EU and all of its member states must accept to take over a greater share of refugees and to facilitate legal access to the EU; procedures and safe corridors must be set up to this effect; it is therefore urgent to establish a European wide ‘Mare Nostrum’, properly financed, to enhance the search and rescue of people setting off in the Mediterranean sea.”

Photo CC BY Martina Franca