The European Commission today presented proposals on the new EU 'Mediterranean Taskforce', which was established in response to the latest refugee disaster off the coast of Lampedusa. Commenting on the proposals, Green migration policy spokesperson Ska Keller said:
"This Taskforce shows the Commission has sadly learned nothing from the latest tragedy off Lampedusa. Instead of setting out concrete measures to improve EU efforts to rescue refugees in difficulty at sea, which is what is urgently needed, the Commission is again focusing on border controls.
"Shamefully, the Commission is now proposing that military forces should be involved in defending EU borders from migrants. Spinning this as saving lives at sea is cynicism in the extreme. In the same vein, the Commission is proposing cooperating with North African countries for border monitoring, with joint border patrols to target refugees. Under the guise of fighting trafficking, the Commission is looking to shift the EU's external borders to the African coast.
"The few constructive proposals under the Taskforce are vague. Instead of focusing exclusively on border controls and recruiting third countries to carry this out, the Commission should be revising its own policies. Creating a clear procedure for legal entry for refugees would necessarily significantly reduce the huge numbers engaging in risky sea crossings. While the Commission is proposing a conference to convince member states to accept more refugees from Syria, the new EU Asylum and Migration Fund will have significantly lower funds. This is not the right approach."