Paris, September 16, 2014
Five hundred migrants have been reported missing in the Mediterranean Sea off Malta after the sinking of a makeshift vessel, probably caused by the traffickers themselves.
This appalling tragedy is an affront to everyone’s conscience. It once again demonstrates the urgent necessity, in addition to sea rescue operations, of dismantling criminal networks of traffickers, who do not hesitate to fleece people before sending them to an early grave. This necessity demands strong, coordinated European action.
Bernard Cazeneuve took the initiative this summer to propose a four-point action plan to our European partners and the European Commission:
To intensify and coordinate at European level the fight against clandestine networks of traffickers, who, as this tragic event reminds us, trade in misery and in human lives;
To step up surveillance of the EU’s external borders by establishing a European operation in the Mediterranean, as close as possible to the European coast;
To increase the EU’s ability to take in asylum seekers under good conditions and in a supportive way;
To step up cooperation with the source countries and transit countries in order to limit the number of departures.
After a round of European visits at the end of August, Bernard Cazeneuve has already obtained the agreement of the European Commission, Italy, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and Poland on these basic principles./.