Commenting following a debate in the European Parliament on this week's European Council, and in advance of a vote later today on a European Parliament resolution on the tragedies in Lampedusa, Greens/EFA co-president Dany Cohn-Bendit said:
"The Lampedusa tragedies have again underlined how EU policies always come too late. EU leaders need to end their platitudes on the recurring tragedies in Europe's coastal waters. Instead of more empty rhetoric and further delay, this week's European Council should deliver a concrete response to ensure there are no more Lampedusas.
"EU governments have consistently blocked attempts to ensure EU border policies also focus on saving lives at sea and deciding which countries take responsibility for those saved. They have also failed to ensure that those seeking refuge can access asylum systems safely. EU leaders must finally commit to delivering a comprehensive EU border policy, which would ensure all EU governments finally take their responsibility to prevent these avoidable tragedies off Europe's coast and to ensure mutual support in doing so. This implies equipping the relevant agencies (like FRONTEX and EUROSUR) with a mandate and means to fulfil this role. The European Commission must be tasked to urgently outline proposals to this end.
"15 years after EU leaders promised to do so at Tampere, there is also a need to finally make a common asylum system a reality. We need to provide for a more humane treatment of those coming to Europe seeking refuge and asylum, as well as ensuring that EU member states share responsibility for this. This means finally committing to a common asylum system, not a deterrence system."