The S&Ds call on European leaders and member states to ensure the security of people on rescue boats and to find sustainable solutions at the European Council.
S&D Group president, Udo Bullmann said:
“All political disputes aside – people always come first! We thank the Maltese government for its readiness to let the rescue ship Lifeline dock. However, the fact that the boat was stranded at sea with migrants and helpers for so long is a shame. Europe cannot sit and discuss for days while lives are directly threatened because some leaders are playing tactical games. We therefore call on European leaders and member states to make sure this situation does not repeat itself.
“In order to settle the dispute that has led to this unbearable situation, we repeat our call on Council President Donald Tusk to put the reform of the Dublin Regulation on the agenda of the Council meeting this week. Given the loaded situation, it is irresponsible that the issue be postponed one more time as President Tusk is planning to do. There is no solution to the migration challenge as long as there is no agreement on a reformed Dublin system.”
S&D Group vice-president Elena Valenciano said:
“People on any refugee boat deserve dignity, not this shameful display of countries blaming each other as we have witnessed in the past days. These are people who have rights, not some cargo, and they cannot and should not be treated this way.
“The duty to rescue persons in distress at sea is a fundamental rule of international law. If anything happens to people on a rescue boat because of the refusal to provide a safe port by our member states it would be tantamount to a crime. In the recent case of Aquarius we had a bold reaction from the Government of Spain, now Malta has stepped in, but for the future we need a bold reaction from the whole of Europe.”
Tanja Fajon S&D Group vice-president added:
“It has never been clearer that a European solution is needed. Ahead of their meeting this week, we call on EU leaders to overcome their differences and agree on the overhaul of the Common European Asylum System, including the Dublin Regulation.
“We need a truly European system based on solidarity as already backed by strong majority in the European Parliament. There is no other sustainable way to face our responsibilities and obligations.”