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Prime Ministers agree actions needed to tackle migrant deaths

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Solidarity among EU countries and tackling smugglers among action points

Ahead of the Extraordinary European Council meeting, the Heads of State and leaders of the PES family met in Brussels to discuss what action is needed to prevent migrant deaths in the Mediterranean.

The leaders expressed condolences to the victims’ families and agreed on advancing concrete proposals to tackle this emergency and prevent future tragedies. They also discussed the 10 point plan proposed by the European Commission. The fair sharing of responsibilities for the management of our common Southern Border, the Mediterranean Sea, as well as of reception capacities, among all 28 member states, was also discussed. They also agreed that safe and legal systems for migration are important to avoid that people in desperate situations take such incredible risks to reach Europe.

In line with the declaration approved by the PES Presidency in the morning meeting, the PES Leaders discussed the following points:

- When thinking about an EU migration policy or activities, human rights and the needs of migrants should be put in first place, because they are above all human beings and citizens. They discussed the reinforcement of the Triton and Poseidon Frontex operations which are currently too limited to monitoring tasks, increasing their search and rescue mandate.

- An EU joint action is needed to fight smugglers and their criminal activities.

- Stronger cooperation with and improving safety and quality of lives in migrants’ countries of origin and surrounding countries – where they often stay before migrating to Europe.

- Legal migration can enrich our continent culturally, economically, socially; and we are committed to strong refugee protection. 

Sergei Stanishev, PES President, commented: “True to our socialist values of solidarity and equality, we recognise our moral and civil responsibility to prevent deaths in the Mediterranean. We recognise the weight that countries like Italy and Malta have to carry, and we will not leave them alone in that. We need to do more to combat the smugglers in order to prevent more deaths, for each one is a preventable tragedy for which we must accept some responsibility.”

The full list of participants of the PES European Council preparatory meeting:

Matteo Renzi (PD, Italy), François Hollande (PS, France), Helle Thorning-Schmidt (SD, Denmark), Stefan Löfven (SAP, Sweden), Joseph Muscat (LP, Malta), Federica Mogherini (EU Commission), Frans Timmermans (EU Commission), Martin Schulz (European Parliament), Enrique Guerrero (S&D Group in the EP), Sergei Stanishev (PES President), Achim Post (PES Secretary General).

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