Commenting on the sinking of a boat carrying African migrants that claimed at least 232 lives off the coast of the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, EGP Co-Chair Monica Frassoni said:
“This is a huge tragedy, and we offer our sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those killed in this terrible accident.
“Italy is not prepared for the surge of migrants on its coasts. Its system for receiving and processing migrants and asylum seekers is simply not fit for purpose. As the report of the Council of Europe clearly states, Italy's migration policies and laws must be totally reviewed, since they created these conditions where human trafficking flourishes. But we have to stress that the issue of asylum seekers cannot be left to single countries, notably in the south of Europe.
“Closer international cooperation is needed to prevent such cases happening again. The EU as a whole has a responsibility to develop a more humane and robust system for the support of asylum seekers. There are already existing tools the EU could utilise to help people fleeing violence and extreme hardship, coming through criminal channels at great risk to their life.
”Europe needs to ensure that everyone who arrives here is treated fairly and with dignity. A robust system is the best way to stop human trafficking, which seems to be the major cause of today's tragedy. We call again for the EU to revise the Dublin convention and develop a common strategy to manage the extreme pressure caused by the huge numbers of asylum seekers on Europe’s southern coast.”