The latest humanitarian tragedy with hundreds of casualties off the coast of Lampedusa, fills us with sadness and worry. None of us can remain impassive when hundreds of souls are lost in the Mediterranean, in their effort to escape war and poverty.
Europe cannot invoke the supreme value of human life, if it does not mobilize to stop this ongoing tragedy.
The Mediterranean must stop being a sea-cemetery and the European countries of the southern Mediterranean must stop being storage areas of human souls. The Mediterranean was and must again become a cradle of civilization, communication, commerce and humanity.
I urgently appeal to the governments of the EU member states to immediately formulate a coherent plan in order to address the humanitarian crisis that we are facing.
A three-fold plan that must:
a) Upgrade the mechanisms of migration management, and of search and rescue in the Mediterranean,
b) Support of the European Mediterranean countries that receive a much larger number of migrants and refugees than capacity allows, with a just allocation of assistance for the financial and hospitality burdens,
c) Undertake diplomatic initiatives for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Libya as well, in order to effectively address jihadism.
I had a telephone conversation with the Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. Renzi, in order to express my condolences for the victims of this tragic incident and my support for his proposal for the immediate convening of an extraordinary European Council meeting on the issue of migration management in the Mediterranean.
Additionally, I repeated the proposal that I had submitted regarding a Conference of the leaders of the EU Mediterranean countries that would enable the countries most directly affected by this phenomenon to better coordinate, and to bring this important issue to the forefront of European policy.
There's no time to waste. Delays cost lives.