20/02/2015 Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons
PACE rapporteurs welcome European Commission pledge of more help for migrants crossing the Mediterranean
Two rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) dealing with migration have welcomed the announcement by the European Commission of additional measures to address the critical situation of mass arrivals of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Italy.
“Events so far this year give every indication that 2015 will see even greater numbers of desperate people, fleeing conflict, repression and hardship, attempt the perilous crossing from north Africa to Lampedusa in Italy and other southern outposts of Europe,” said Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), PACE rapporteur on countries of transit: meeting new migration and asylum challenges. “The means employed by those who facilitate these crossings are becoming increasingly reckless of migrants’ safety: 3,800 people have been rescued in the past week, but a further 300 died the week before.”
“Prolonging Operation Triton will help, but as the UNHCR has said, its operational mandate and resources are inadequate to the task in hand,” continued Michele Nicoletti (Italy, SOC), PACE rapporteur on assessing the need for a comprehensive review of the Dublin Regulation and its implementation. “The additional emergency funding to Italy will also help that country respond to the immediate needs of these newly arrived migrants. It will not, however, address the fundamental structural problems of EU migration and asylum policy, epitomised by the Dublin system, which allocates responsibilities between member States without any real means for sharing them. Migrants’ protection needs extend beyond the critical reception stage and for those who remain in the medium- and long-term, solidarity between states means not only financial aid but measures such as mutual recognition of decisions on qualification for protection.”
“I am encouraged to see that the European Commission’s announcement shows an appreciation of the need for a comprehensive, coherent policy addressing all aspects of the problem, including the situations in countries of origin and transit, access to protection in Europe and EU member States’ solidarity amongst themselves and with their neighbours,” concluded Ms Strik. “From the perspective of the Council of Europe, the most important consideration is that the human rights of the migrants themselves remain at the heart of both policy and practice, with the same standards applied whether action is taken by European states or their neighbouring partners.”