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How can we keep deadly shipwrecks, like the recent one near Pylos (Greece), from happening?

In an interview with The Tribune Express MPG’s Legal Policy Analyst Dr. Carmine Conte points out policy gaps and a possible way forward.

We need a European search and rescue effort that clearly assigns defined responsibilities to certain authorities, national stakeholders and other European actors, including NGOs. Now many NGOs, like Sea-Watch or Médecins Sans Frontières, are filling the gaps in search and rescue activities because EU member states aren’t doing so.

What is also required are safe legal routes to Europe, at least to claim asylum. Settlement schemes, private sponsorships, complementary pathways and Mediterranean corridors can ensure that asylum seekers can reach Europe safely. Now people have to resort to smugglers because they have no other way to come to Europe. It’s not like they are happy to pay huge fees to be on overcrowded boats to come to Europe. This shows the desperation they are in.

Lastly, there has to be solidarity and responsibility sharing between EU member states. Spain, Italy, and Greece have many arrivals but have little capacity or political will to welcome refugees or launch search operations for those lost at sea. The major gap in rolling out a clear migration policy comes from the lack of a comprehensive European-level agreement. This is also reflected in the new EU pact on migration and asylum. It doesn’t include responsibility sharing between southern and northern European countries. This creates a very hostile environment everywhere and in the EU.

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About the Migration Policy Group (MPG)

MPG is an independent think-and-do-tank based in Brussels. MPG’s purpose is rooted in its ability to inspire networks to provide evidence-based projects, research and campaigns in the areas of integration, migration and anti-discrimination.