The European Parliament adopted a resolution that demands swift and resolute action from the Member States, to put an end the humanitarian catastrophe in the Mediterranean.
In the past few weeks alone, hundreds of refugees have died when their overcrowded vessels capsized en route to Europe. The Greens in the European Parliament succeeded in finding a majority for their amendment, which called for a renewed Mare Nostrum operation in Europe, to prevent any further casualties.
Ska Keller, Vice President of the Greens/EFA group, reminded the European heads of state and their governments of the responsibility they hold:
"Following our initiative, the European Parliament has decided to call upon the member states to establish a permanent European rescue operation that is modeled on the example of the Italian Mare Nostrum programme. We also asked for the creation of legal and safe means for refugees to enter the EU."
Monica Frassoni, Co-Chair of the European Green Party, welcomed the decision, saying: "President Juncker admitted what we have been saying all along, that it was a tragic mistake to stop Mare Nostrum. But the EU and its Member states fell short of putting in place a widened EU wide rescue operation. Triton, even with three time its budget, remains an unsufficient and thrifty answer to the tragedies still looming at sea. Europe has the responsibility to avoid new innocent deaths. We have to defeat the idea that Europe cannot take any more refugees and organise legal routes for those escaping from war and also for migrants. The EU should also do much more to help countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, who are hosting the vast majority of people who are fleeing from war and hunger and develop a strategy also for forgotten states like Eritrea."
European Greens have also always been critical of the existing legal framework - the Dublin Regulation - that forces refugees to apply for asylum in the country where they first entered the EU. Rather than protecting our borders by erecting a "Fortress Europe", Greens believe that Europe should address the issues that force people to migrate in the first place, especially when it comes to shaping our foreign relations as well as trade and development policies.
Green proposals for a European migration and asylum strategy:
The European Green Party's 2009 resolution on a common European migration and asylum policy: