European Commission - STATEMENT/14/155 12/05/2014
Brussels, 12 May 2014
I am deeply shocked by the new tragedy that took place in international waters between Libya and Lampedusa, resulting in at least a dozen deaths. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. Let me thank the Italian authorities for their huge efforts in putting in place the Mare Nostrum operation, also supported by the European Commission, which has saved and continues to save tens of thousands of lives. Unfortunately all the efforts in place could not avoid a new appalling loss of life. It is the clear responsibility of all Member States of the European Union to now show concrete solidarity in order to reduce the risk of such tragedies from happening again. I therefore call on all Member States to give concrete and effective follow up to the actions identified in the Action Plan designed by the European Commission, and in particular to engage in resettling refugees directly from the camps outside the EU and opening new legal channels to come legally. By bringing these people safely to the EU, we could prevent them from falling in the hands of traffickers and smugglers who put migrants' lives at risk to cross the Mediterranean. If each Member State would resettle even just a few thousand people, this would make a huge difference for hundreds of thousands of people who are in need of shelter and it would significantly reduce the pressure of migratory flows in the Mediterranean. It is time for Member States to put their words into action, this is why I call for a formal discussion at the next Home Affairs Council on how Member States intend to concretely contribute to address the migratory and asylum challenges in the Mediterranean.
Contacts : Michele Cercone (+32 2 298 09 63) Tove Ernst (+32 2 298 67 64) For the public: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 or by email