The sinking of a ship off Al-Khums, in which more than 100 people are reported missing, is an intolerable tragedy that reminds us of the urgency of a humane and lasting solution involving countries of origin, transit and reception in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity within the European Union.
Many men, women and children are still trying to travel to Europe by sea at all costs, often risking their lives. France deeply regrets this new tragedy and stresses the need to establish a more predictable, more effective and broader temporary mechanism to enable those asylum seekers rescued to disembark safely, in a dignified way and swiftly.
It was in this spirit of solidarity and responsibility that an informal working meeting devoted to migration issues in the Mediterranean was held on France’s initiative in Paris on 22 July. At this stage, 14 member states have given their agreement to the Franco-German document presented by the Finnish presidency in Helsinki. We must move forward effectively to ensure all member states take part in this effort.
We must also continue our cooperation with the countries of origin, transit and asylum – in particular in terms of preventing departures, strengthening sea and land border management capabilities, asylum, combating illegal migrant trafficking and human trafficking – and address the underlying causes of illegal migration.