CSU Vice Weber calls for a new European initiative to save refugees in the Mediterranean. According to Weber, this is a state task. The Union faction in the Bundestag disagrees.
The Union faction in the Bundestag rejects the demand of the CSU Vice-Chairman Manfred Weber for a new edition of the European refugee aid operation in the Mediterranean. “The resumption of state sea rescue would send the wrong signal,” said parliamentary secretary Thorsten Frei (CDU) to the “Tagesspiegel” on the proposal by the group leader of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament. “The more ships are on the way to the rescue in the Mediterranean, the more people make the dangerous journey with unseaworthy boats and put their lives in danger.”
Weber told the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (Saturday): “I would like Europe to take responsibility together again, as we did before.” Safeguarding and saving lives in the Mediterranean is the first task for Europeans – and this is a state task, not one of non-governmental organisations. The Federal Police may also participate. However, Weber emphasized that saving lives does not automatically mean gaining access to Europe.
For months, many people have been trying to reach southern Italy from North Africa via the dangerous Mediterranean route. According to official figures from Rome, more than 50,000 migrants have done so since January. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 980 people have died or have been missing since then.
From May 2015 to June 2019, the Bundeswehr participated in the sea rescue of shipwrecked people as part of the EU naval mission “Operation Sophia” in the Mediterranean. The reason for the exit from the operation was that the member states could not agree on a system for the distribution of rescued migrants.
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