In view of the commencing work to prepare decisive talks between EU governments in Vienna and Salzburg, S&D Group president, Udo Bullmann stated:

“Enough is enough with inaction and responsibility shifting in Europe! 721 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe in June and July alone. The death toll in the Mediterranean is going up despite the number of people heading towards EU shores going down. Currently, one in sixteen of those embarking on this dangerous journey are believed to drown on their way. EU member states and the Commission bear a joint responsibility to end this humanitarian disaster.”

“Tactical games and political disputes must be left aside when EU governments start preparing talks at ministerial level in Vienna later this month and the EU leaders meeting in Salzburg in September. Member states must uphold their obligations to provide humanitarian assistance to persons in distress at sea and to designate safe places to disembark for those who have been rescued. We welcome the readiness of countries like Spain and Malta to offer ad-hoc assistance to stranded refugee vessels. However, the EU must develop rules-based solutions that provide legal certainty and organise solidarity between member states. This is our moral and legal duty under international maritime law.”

“To establish effective surveillance and rescue operations, tasks and responsibilities among EU member states, neighbouring countries and NGOs must be clearly defined. Related proposals drawn up by the Commission are on the table and must be acted upon without further delay.”

“We urgently need a truly European and sustainable solution on migration based on cooperation and solidarity. Member states have long run out of excuses for dragging their feet regarding the overhaul of the Common European Asylum System, including the Dublin Regulation. Beyond this, we need to bring back legal migration to the EU migration debate and establish controlled, regular migration routes.”