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EU migration deal a ‘step forward’ but international law and human rights must be guaranteed

PACE rapporteurs Petra De Sutter (Belgium, SOC) and Domagoj Hajdukovic (Croatia, SOC) have jointly acknowledged the conclusions adopted last night by the EU Council on migration and sea rescue. “The heads of state and government of the EU member States have finally agreed on important, positive and concrete steps forward,” they said.

Ms De Sutter and Mr Hajdukovic, whose reports relevant to the agreement were approved by the Assembly yesterday, said: “The EU Council has undertaken to break the business model of smugglers by eliminating incentives to embark on perilous journeys across the Mediterranean, in an effort to prevent further tragic losses of life at sea.”

They added: “Provided that international law and human rights are guaranteed, the concept of regional disembarkation platforms for people saved in search and rescue operations, set up in close co-operation with relevant third countries, the UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), could be a way to avoid the recent refusals to allow NGO rescue ships to enter national ports, which were strongly criticised in the Assembly’s resolution.”

In a separate resolution, the Assembly invited the UNHCR and IOM to assist asylum applicants by providing refugee status determination programmes.