MEPs wish to see the EU and member states carry out more active and coordinated search and rescue (SAR) operations, with border agency Frontex playing a key role.
Following a plenary debate on Wednesday, the European Parliament today adopted by show of hands a resolution asking for member states and Frontex to provide sufficient capacity in terms of vessels, equipment and personnel dedicated to SAR and a more proactive and coordinated approach in order to effectively save lives at sea. Member states should also make full use of vessels operated by NGOs. A comprehensive EU SAR mission implemented by authorities in member states and Frontex should be established, say MEPs.
Parliament strongly condemns criminal smuggling and trafficking, whilst reiterating that safe and legal pathways, notably through resettlement, are the best way to avoid casualties at sea. MEPs also propose that more information about the dangers of this route should be disseminated to people in third counties.
Cooperation with third countries
The resolution asks the Commission to provide comprehensive information about all the types of support the EU and its member states provide to border and coast guards in third countries, including Libya, Türkiye, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. As rescued persons should only be disembarked in a place of safety, MEPs urge the Commission and the national authorities to assess allegations of serious fundamental rights violations by the Libyan coast guard and to end such cooperation if those breaches are proven.
MEPs also demand that the Commission put forward proposals to make funding to third countries conditional on them cooperating to manage migration flows and on the fight against human traffickers and migrant smugglers.
Search and rescue operations and disembarkation activities performed by EU member states are not covered by a common EU legal framework, except for those activities carried out in the context of Frontex-led joint operations at sea.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 27 633 persons have been recorded missing (presumed dead) in the Mediterranean since 2014.