GUE/NGL MEPS have condemned EU leaders in the strongest possible terms for not responding to the spiralling death toll in the Mediterranean with a much-needed robust search and rescue operation as well as proposals for safe and legal access to the EU.

Draft conclusions from today's emergency summit in Brussels show that instead EU governments want to prevent migrants from gaining access to Mediterranean shores and return swiftly those who arrive in Europe.

German MEP Cornelia Ernst said: “Giving more money to Frontex will not help; their task is border control. What we need is a European Mare Nostrum and not a war against smugglers that are exploiting the lack of safe and legal access to Europe.”

She continued: “Europe should react to these tragedies by immediately putting in place a cross-country search and rescue operation as this issue is not just an Italian problem, it is a European one. All member states should help and show solidarity. We strongly oppose setting up any cooperation with third countries to outsource asylum and search and rescue.”

GUE/NGL has today succeeded in getting an urgent discussion with President Juncker and Donald Tusk on EU migration and asylum policies added to next week's European Parliament plenary agenda.

The group will also hold a press conference next week with Father Mussie Zerai, an Eritrean priest who helps African migrants (Wednesday at 11:30 in the EP Press room).

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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