Commission rolls out migration action plan despite heavy criticism

Author (Person)
Series Title
Series Details 18.08.17
Publication Date 18/08/2017
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The European Commission set out on 4 July 2017 a series of measures to be taken by the EU institutions and agencies, Italy and the other Member States, in response to increasing pressure from migrants along the Central Mediterranean Route.

The Action Plan comprised a set of five areas:

+ saving lives;
+ fighting human trafficking in Libya;
+ cooperating with partner countries;
+ stepping up returns;
+ EU solidarity.

The measures presented in this plan were the basis of discussions on immediate support for Italy that took place at the informal Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 6 July 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. EURACTIV France reported on the 18 August 2017 that the EU was pressing on with controversial plans to tackle the migration crisis in Europe in the face of mounting criticism from NGOs and UN experts.

On the 17 August 2017 two United Nations human rights experts expressed serious concern over the new European Commission policy on Mediterranean Sea rescues, warning that more people would drown.

'The EU’s proposed new action plan, including a code of conduct for organisations operating rescue boats, threatens life and breaches international standards by condemning people to face further human rights violations in Libya', said the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, and the Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer.

The Special Rapporteurs expressed concern that the European Commission was trying to move Europe’s borders to Libya. 'Libya simply cannot be regarded as a safe place to disembark and the EU policy is in denial of this fact', they said.

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Related Links
ESO: Background information: Central Mediterranean Route: Commission proposes Action Plan to support Italy, reduce pressure and increase solidarity, July 2017
ESO: Information Guide: European Migration Challenges
ESO: Background information: NGOs say Italy’s ‘code of conduct’ threatens migrants’ lives
ESO: Background information: Italy's navy to patrol with Libyan ships to curb human trafficking
OHCHR: News and Events, 17.08.17: EU ‘trying to move border to Libya’ using policy that breaches rights – UN experts
Spiegel Online International, 16.08.17: Hell on Earth. Libyan Camps for Refugees Are Not the Answer
Deutsche Welle, 19.08.17: [Opinion]: Humanitarian helpers in danger in Mediterranean
Deutsche Welle, 19.08.17: Frontex-Director Fabrice Leggeri: 'Border control itself is not a panacea'

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