Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-06-06-Speech-3-135"

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"Mr President, Mr Frattini, ladies and gentlemen, I endorse what Mr Frattini has said here today and in the interviews he has given in recent days, but someone who does not endorse them at all is the Maltese Minister for Foreign Affairs. In a statement this afternoon he explained that Malta cannot take charge of illegal immigrants who legally do not come under its jurisdiction. Twenty-one people who drowned are not a legal matter, and somebody at the forthcoming meeting of the Council of Ministers, either the Presidency or the Commission, needs to explain to the Maltese Government the difference between illegal immigrants and shipwreck victims. Somebody needs to remind the Maltese Foreign Minister that a fishing boat flying the Maltese flag decided to leave 27 people clinging to a tuna fishing line because they thought it was more important to save the tuna they had caught than human lives. Somebody needs to explain to the Maltese Minister and all the rest of our ministers that humanitarian law has nothing to do with legal obligations or the conventions signed by our countries. Since I believe that it is important to put words into deeds, I agree with you, Mr Frattini, that the Frontex funds need to be released and that all countries need to take this requirement on board but, at the same time, allowing Frontex or the European repatriation fund to receive these funds must be made conditional on fulfilling their duty to assist anyone in distress at sea, in whatever circumstances and no matter what the legal status of the shipwreck. That is one of the working hypotheses that can be used to tackle this problem over the next few days with the other ministers."@en1

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