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GNRD Statement on the European Commission’s New Action Plans on Asylum Flows

 Brussels : Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD) welcomes the European Commission’s action plan aimed at preventing migrant deaths at sea.

The action plan proposes to allow people to apply for asylum in Europe from abroad and reinforce patrols in the Mediterranean under the Frontex mandate, the EU’s border agency. The Commission proposal also includes financial assistance of €6,000 a refugee to member states that agree to help airlift and resettle people out of conflict zones. This initiative comes as an EU response to the tragedy that happened in Lampedusa this October, where hundreds of people died because of the sinking of refugee boats.

“We welcome the European Commission initiative to reinforce the EU’s search-and-rescue capacity, as long as it is applied in an indiscriminate manner, aimed at preventing migrants’ death in the Mediterranean” said Ramadan Abu Jazar, Director of GNRD – Brussels. 

GNRD – Brussels in its earlier statement has expressed its concern over the Lampedusa tragedy, urging the EU and member states to better cooperate in the Mediterranean in order to prevent such tragedies. 

We fully appreciate the European Commission’s initiative to increase border surveillance, which aims at strengthening of aerial and maritime surveillance and rescue capacity, thereby saving lives of migrants in distress at sea. However, we advise the European Commission not to turn this initiative into reinforcing the idea of “Fortress Europe” meant to keep migrants out, as some critics predict, and serve it only to its proclaimed purpose. 

GNRD – Brussels sees this proposal as a concrete measure from the EU to translate promises of help into action in the aftermath of the Lampedusa tragedy. Nevertheless, we call on the European Commission to elaborate carefully its proposal on asylum seeking from distance, taking into consideration the risk civilians would face while their applications are processed.

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