Following the shocking refugee disaster off Malta where, according to the International Organization for Migration, up to 500 people (mostly Gazans) drowned, GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer said EU asylum and migration policy was directly to blame for the deaths.


“How many people must die before EU leaders put an end to the fortress Europe policy? Already this year about 3000 people have died off the coasts of the EU. Children, women and men fleeing war, poverty and hunger need safe and legal channels to the EU. This should be the role of a modern asylum and migration policy.”


MEP Cornelia Ernst – GUE/NGL coordinator in Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee – said the following after meeting today with Commissioner-designate for Migration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos:


“I expect Mr Avramopoulos to quickly make concrete proposals on how he wants to solve the on-going tragedy in the Mediterranean. We need a paradigm shift in asylum policy. What I want to hear from him is how the new Border Patrol mission Triton is supposed to save lives without an appropriate budget or mandate.”


According to the International Organization for Migration, a majority of the victims of the shipwreck off Malta were from the Gaza Strip.


“We need a quick response to the intolerable humanitarian situation in Gaza which has worsened dramatically yet again since the war,” Gabi Zimmer said. “The people in Gaza do not just need the basic necessities of life; they need a future perspective and an end to human rights abuses. We cannot ignore the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Until this changes, there can be no solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”


The GUE/NGL group is made up of 52 MEPs from across Europe working for peace, solidarity, social justice, equality, democracy and human rights in Europe and beyond. It is the only gender balanced group in the European Parliament.


GUE/NGL Press:

David Lundy +32 470 85 05 09

Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20

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