GUE/NGL has expressed its horror at the news of yet another tragedy in the Mediterranean where over 700 migrants are feared drowned after their boat capsized on Saturday evening.

“Our thoughts are first and foremost with those who perished on Europe's doorstep and with the families and friends of the victims,” said GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer.

“Europe needs EU migration and asylum policies that ensure safe and legal access to the EU for both asylum-seekers and migrants. These repeated tragedies on Europe's doorstep are the result of current EU policies which are in complete contradiction to European values and fundamental human rights.”

Zimmer continued: “Frontex is the totally wrong partner to save the lives of refugees as it focuses on bolstering Europe's borders and on fighting migration. The Operation Triton programme is going the wrong way. An appropriate replacement for the Italian 'Mare Nostrum' programme which expired in 2014 is urgently needed. What we want to see is a robust common European search-and-rescue operation in the central Mediterranean. More border patrols will not help prevent more tragedies. Simply calling for more cooperation with third countries is a false solution to the crisis.”

Zimmer also condemned humanitarian aid being blocked in budgetary discussions in the Council because some member states do not want to play their part. She also criticised attempts to criminalise brave efforts from civil society to save migrants.

GUE/NGL calls for the EU and its governments to recognise the role they have played in the destabilisation of Libya which has allowed human traffickers to exploit the most vulnerable.

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