Thursday, April 23, 2015

Commissioner Avramopoulos: 'EU at war with people smugglers'

First entry: 23 April 2015
Commissioner Avramopoulos: 'EU at war with people smugglers'
The European Commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said the European Union will “hunt down” human smugglers in the Mediterranean to bring them to justice. 
“We cannot allow these criminals to continue exploiting human lives,” Avramopoulos told a press conference at Auberge de Castille, ahead of an extraordinary EU summit to discuss a way forward on migration after some 650 unidentified migrants perished at sea in one of the deadliest shipwrecks ever.
“The EU is at war with human smugglers and we will hunt them down and destroy their capacities.  We will seize the smugglers’ boats, destroy them and bring the smugglers to justice.” 
Avramopolous, flanked by Italian minister for the interior Angelino Alfano and deputy prime minister Louis Grech, insisted that European countries cannot tackle migration flows ‘alone and divided”, and that immediate remedies must be sought to prevent any further loss of life. 
But he warned that migratory flows would not disappear anytime soon. “The EU must come up with structural and holistic solutions to the instability in the migrants’ countries of origin,” Avramopolous said. “Global migration won’t end, no matter how much money the EU pours into its policies.” 
When asked, Avramopolous added that migration issues should play a key role in ongoing UN-brokered Libyan peace talks. 
Louis Grech praised the EU for sending a “strong message” that it is willing to take action. 
“Passiveness in the face of such tragedies is no longer an option,” Grech said, referring to two recent shipwrecks off the coast of Libya that resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 migrants. “The EU must take charge.” 
Deputy Italian Prime Minister Angelino Alfano described the recent tragedy as a “punch in the stomach” for those who are indifferent about the Mediterranean’s migration problems.
He said that the EU has “finally woken up” and realized that the problem is a European one, and not just a southern European one.

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