France calls for swift action to stop migrant boat disasters
Lampedusa – Reply given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly
Paris, 8 October 2013
Last week, 300 people died – drowned or missing. The Mediterranean has become a huge open-air graveyard. The outrage you’ve shown exists, I think, on all the benches of this Assembly, together with a call for action like the one you’ve just made. This action must be taken in the directions you mentioned.
First of all, the issue of development: those who want to come to Europe don’t come here for fun – they’re often fleeing abject poverty and bad governance. So all our countries, in Europe and beyond, must act more effectively for development, whether it be that of the Horn of Africa or that of the southern Mediterranean.
Europe must also be more effective than it has been on monitoring activities, namely Frontex, whose budget – as I think everyone here acknowledges – is insufficient.
And there’s also the aspect of punishment, because these crossings wouldn’t take place without men growing rich out of abject poverty and human trafficking. Interpol and Europol must act.
Those are the instructions which the Interior Minister – who is in talks on the issue in Luxembourg today – has received from the Prime Minister. They’re also the themes the French President will be developing at the next European Council meeting in October, because we asked this issue to be included on the agenda.
You’ve expressed your scepticism – many of us share it – but we must act, and act fast, to ensure a tragedy like that of Lampedusa doesn’t happen again./.