Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-04-23-Speech-3-215"

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"Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, my thanks go to you, Madam President, Mr President of the Council and Commissioner. We welcome the Council President's proposal of an integrated approach to immigration. This attempt to combine the various aspects of the problem and handle them together has to begin with the acknowledgement of a fact known to us all: 60% of migrants arriving in Europe come by sea, and ‘Fortress Europe’ has issued an approximate estimate, by default, that 12 000 human beings have drowned or otherwise gone missing over the past ten years. The Mediterranean has become the largest open-air common grave anywhere. In my opinion, even though Frontex was not established for humanitarian reasons, it cannot be dissociated from this context; it cannot be dissociated from the fact that we are facing a major humanitarian problem. Where do the difficulties and ambiguities of this project lie? The Member States have until now interpreted Frontex as serving to lessen their own responsibilities, and yet it is a coordinating agency based on a spirit of solidarity and reciprocity which cannot operate in isolation from the Member States. Indeed, the Member States are primarily responsible for managing both land and sea borders. Another significant point is that Frontex has not so far been adequately resourced; now that we hear it is to have funds, structures, men and practical resources at its disposal, we shall need to verify their operational reliability. It is not enough simply to list vessels and helicopters: we need to see how this stock of resources and tools can in actual fact be put at the service of the Agency. My third point is that Frontex has still not solved one problem which you, Commissioner, raised when you said that we should contribute to bringing down the number of dead and missing persons. How can Frontex undertake to do this? We believe that there is only one way: by ensuring that its remit includes sea rescue operations. In other words, besides the rules governing immigration into the European Union, maritime law, humanitarian law, should also be included, setting out the need to save every human life whenever there is an imminent risk of lives being lost. That is the message we leave you with, Commissioner, and those are a few points on which we should like some clarification from you and from the Council."@en1

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