Published: Thu, 30 April 2015
“Up to 1,500 migrants have died trying to reach Europe’s shores in 2015 so far. Of the approximate 219,000 migrants who crossed the Mediterranean Sea seeking asylum in Europe last year, some 3,500 drowned at sea,” Seán Kelly MEP said in Strasbourg today, in discussing the migration crisis facing the EU.
MEP Kelly, the Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament, said a more coordinated, humane approach is urgently needed: “The EU already funds rescue missions along our coastal borders, but it is clear that we need to reinforce the search and rescue missions to prevent further tragic loss of life as witnessed in recent days.
“In the medium term, the EU needs to reassess its procedures and particularly speed up the vetting process to ascertain asylum status in determining the accommodation or repatriation of migrants.
“In the long-term, we need to look at the root of the problem – the instability of the home countries from which migrants are fleeing and the criminality involved in the illicit human trafficking trade. There must be zero tolerance for people smuggling in Europe. We also need to strengthen our diplomatic efforts to ensure that more prosperous African and Arab League countries which have a role to play in helping to solve the migration crisis do so,” he said.
Today, Mr Kelly supported a European Parliament call for a new framework for renegotiating migration policy which seeks greater EU-wide solidarity on the issue.
“The extent of the humanitarian disaster related to migration is grave. In addressing both the humanitarian and border control issues related to migration, the EU needs to find a balanced, feasible way in which to coordinate a Europe-wide response,” the Ireland South MEP added.