This week, the European Parliament will vote on Eurosur, the European Border Surveillance System. The Commission claims that this will improve the saving of lives at sea – a very relevant point, especially after the catastrophe at Lampedusa.
However, the Commission is only window-dressing. The aim of Eurosur is to fight “illegal migration”. All the cooperation, the operational capacities etc that are outlined in the proposal are solely aimed at stopping this “illegal migration”. Rescue at sea is only mentioned in that Eurosur can “contribute to ensure” saving lives at sea. Extra capacities however, are only readied for the action against migration. Cooperation also only happens for this purpose.
One should also not forget that the problem of people in distress in the Mediterranean is very often not the problem of not being seen – the Mediterranean is closely monitored and heavily trafficked – but of not being helped. Eurosur will do nothing about issues like the Bossi-Fini act in Italy that brings people to court who save migrants under the accusation of human smuggling.
On the other hand, Eurosur involves a strong cooperation with third countries like Libya with the aim that those countries will then stop the migrants Europe detects before they even leave coastal waters. This completely undermines the right to asylum.
We have tabled an amendment to give Eurosur the additional task of helping for the rescue at sea. We strongly hope that the other groups will join us in this request on Thursday, 10th of October. If our amendment doesn’t go through, we will vote against.