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European Parliament Calls for Urgent Measures to Save Lives

Members of the European Parliament have voted on a resolution calling on the EU to do everything possible to prevent further loss of life at sea.

MEPs have also called for a binding quota for distributing asylum seekers among all EU countries, bigger contributions to resettlement programmes, better cooperation with third countries and tougher measures against people smugglers.

The purpose of the resolution, which was approved by 449 votes to 130, with 93 abstentions, is to respond to the recent tragic events in the Mediterranean, to the European Council conclusions of 23rd April 2015 and to propose a set of urgent measures to be taken immediately. The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee is apparently currently drafting a report which will reflect Parliament’s medium- and longer-term policy orientations on migration.

MEPS expressed their regret that the European Council did not pledge to set up a binding EU-wide solidarity mechanism, and said that:

  • The European Commission should establish a “binding quota” for distributing asylum seekers among all EU countries.
  • Member states should make full use of existing possibilities for issuing humanitarian visas and seriously consider whether to trigger the 2001 Temporary Protection Directive or Article 78(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Both of these foresee a solidarity mechanism in the event of mass and sudden inflows of displaced persons.
  • EU countries should make greater contributions to existing resettlement programmes.
  • The Common European Asylum System rules should be rapidly and fully transposed into national law and implemented by all participating member states.

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