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On the initiative of the S&D Group, the European Parliament today in Strasbourg charged the committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs with examining the overall EU strategy on migration, investigating its failures and developing a set of recommendations to strengthen it.
According to official figures, in the first nine months of 2014 at least 3,072 persons died in the Mediterranean while trying to reach the EU1 and almost 150,000 migrants were rescued at sea by Italy’s ‘Mare Nostrum’ patrol2.
S&D Group MEP Claude Moraes, chair of the European Parliament committee on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said:
“Today’s vote in favour of a holistic approach to migration can help the European Parliament to lay the foundations for a more proactive and flexible EU migration policy.
“The EU urgently needs to develop and safeguard legal routes into the EU for refugees and asylum seekers on the one hand, and for economic migrants on the other, as well as addressing the increasingly malevolent role played by criminal smugglers and human traffickers in the field of migration.”
S&D vice-president Tanja Fajon MEP said:
“It is about human dignity, it is about life of people. We cannot turn a blind eye to lives lost in Mediterranean every day. It is essential that immigration is tackled within an all-encompassing approach including better solidarity between Member states and third countries in Africa, strong criminal actions against human trafficking and smuggling and safe and legal ways to EU.
“In recent years the EU has been faced with immense migration pressures due to crisis hotspots in its neighbourhood and thus having difficulties coping with them. However the numbers have been this high before, namely during the Balkan wars in the early 90s, but Europe was able to handle it better. Unless Europe’s approach to asylum and immigration changes, it won’t only be the migrants but the EU that drowns off European coast.”
1 Figures from the International Organisation for Migration
2 Italian Navy – Defence Ministry