Saturday, 4/4/2020 | 12:52 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Remarks by President Donald Tusk before the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany

One of
the topics of the G20, as you know, is migration. Europe has been struggling
with the unprecedented wave of illegal migration for two years now. We have
managed to overcome to a great degree the crisis on the East Mediterranean
route. We have worked out an agreement with Turkey and strengthened our
cooperation with the Balkan states. The result is the decrease in the number of
irregular migrants from 158 thousand in the first half of 2016, to 9 thousand
in the first half of 2017. However, the situation on the Central Mediterranean
route, that is from Libya to Italy, still remains critical. In order to address
it, we need solidarity and cooperation of the international community. Today it
is Italy in particular, that needs this solidarity. Our objective should be to
effectively stop this wave at its source, namely in North Africa. This is the
main task for the EU. In this respect, Italy can count on Europe’s help in
every dimension. But this cannot mean a wider opening of Europe’s door towards
illegal migration. That is why, here at the G20, I will call on all the
leaders to be ruthless in the fight against smugglers.

We are engaged
in this not just because of the migration pressure on Europe, but as it is a
real humanitarian issue. Migrant smuggling is an organised business. Last year
it generated 1.6 billion dollars in Libya alone. These profits allow the
smugglers to control some parts of the country. They also cooperate with
terrorists and further undermine the stabilisation of Libya. But above
anything else, innocent lives are lost. So far this year more than 2,000
people have died at sea. And the number of people dying in the desert is even
higher.

We need more efforts at the international level to break the
smugglers’ business model. This is why I will propose to all the G20 leaders
to pursue targeted UN sanctions against smugglers. By this I mean assets
freezes and travel bans. It is the very minimum that can be done at the global
level. Unfortunately I have to say that today we do not have the full support
even for this minimum. If we do not get it, it will be a sad proof of the
hypocrisy of some of the G20 members. But I still hope we will succeed. Thank
you.

-->