When more than 360 people on the move drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa, on 3 October 2013, it was the EU’s “never again” moment on migration. Ten years later, Europe has fallen far short of its promises. 

Calais, Melilla, Cutro, Pylos are just a few of the names of the places where the EU’s failed migration policy has continued to bring more deaths. Over 28,000 migrants have lost their lives or have gone missing in the Mediterranean since 2014, according to the International Organisation for Migration

A decade after Lampedusa, the EU is embracing the far-right discourse on migration, with people seeking safety in Europe the collateral victims of cynical political games. Ten years on, the EU is on the brink of adopting a migration pact that would abolish the right to asylum. Ten years after hundreds of dreams drowned in the Mediterranean, the EU signed a deal with the autocratic regime in Tunisia to stop people stepping on European soil. A decade on from what was considered a turning point in EU migration policy, the European Commission is doubling down on  border controls and fortress Europe. 

None of these will prevent future loss of life  as happened in Lampedusa. They will just contribute to more deaths at the EU’s borders. Because no sea is deep enough and no wall is high enough for people fleeing wars and persecution. 

Today, we remember and mourn the people who lost their lives in Lampedusa ten years ago. In their memory and for the ones who risk their lives with the hope of finding a safe place in Europe, the EU must ensure safe and legal pathways and turn to a migration policy that puts people first.  

Left MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) declared: 

“On October 3, 2013, more than 360 migrants drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa while trying to reach Europe. The incident caused horror and drew attention to the topic. Ten years later, the Mediterranean has become a mass grave. The promises made by many to prevent tragedies like this in the future were not fulfilled. Tens of thousands have drowned in the Mediterranean since then. Even worse, European migration policy actively contributes to human suffering, forcing people onto more dangerous routes, externalising responsibility instead of creating a humane asylum and migration policy. It is shameful.”


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