'Immigration has become a security crisis' - Sant

Sant said that blockading action outside the coasts of North Africa is the best way by which to save lives of hundreds of immigrants who are being exploited by human smugglers.  

MEP Alfred Sant told the European Parliament  that waiting for a unified government to form in Libya before decisive action is taken will contribute to further instabilities and deaths.

Sant said that immigration in the Mediterranean is no longer just a humanitarian emergency. It is also a security crisis which has to be dealt with immediately, in the interests of all Europeans and all migrants.’

Sant was speaking during a debate on an EP Report of the extraordinary European Council of 23 April on the latest tragedies in the Mediterranean, EU migration and asylum policies.

Sant said that recent events in the Mediterranean constitute a big discontinuity in past scenarios. He said that in the south of Malta in ten days, there were more deaths by drowning than when the ‘Titanic’ sank. He said that humanitarian action, vital though it is, can no longer be enough. Police exercises -- sporadic or programmed -- will not be enough to deal with the latest situations.

Sant said that blockading action outside the coasts of North Africa is the best way by which to save lives of hundreds of immigrants who are being exploited by human smugglers. 

"We all know what needs to be done," Sant said. "People trafficking operations in the Mediterranean have reached industrial proportions. Eventually they will be penetrated - perhaps already are - by extremist elements. The situation in Libya, which has the longest stretch of coastline, is out of control."

Sant also referrred to the ‘hesitant steps’ taken by the extraordinary European Council  in this direction which include a search and rescue operation that is properly funded and widespread to cover the North African coast; amendments to the Dublin II treaty that respect the interests of all European states, big and small; action against people traffickers; a policy for regular migration to Europe covering asylum seekers and economic migrants; a comprehensive development aid programme for sub-Saharan Africa.

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