In view of the unfolding situation in Lampedusa, and while recognising the increasing pressure along different migratory routes, European Commission President von der Leyen laid out the following set of immediate actions to be exercised in full respect of fundamental rights and international obligations:
- Reinforce the support to Italy by the European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) and the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) to manage the high number of migrants to ensure registration of arrivals, fingerprinting, debriefing and referral to the appropriate authorities.
- Support the transfer of people out of Lampedusa, including to other Member States using the voluntary solidarity mechanism and with particular attention to unaccompanied minors and women.
- Step up returns by undertaking a renewed, concerted outreach to the main countries of origin of the new arrivals, namely Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Burkina Faso so as to improve cooperation and facilitate readmission; and increase the support by Frontex, including as regards training and capacity building, to ensure the swift implementation of returns.
- Support the prevention of departures by establishing operational partnerships on anti-smuggling with countries of origin and transit. This includes the possibility of a working arrangement between Tunisia and Frontex, and a coordination task force in Europol to focus on anti-smuggling along the route to Tunisia and onward to Lampedusa.
- Step up border surveillance at sea and aerial surveillance including through Frontex, and explore options to expand naval missions in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, we will speed up supply of equipment and increase training for the Tunisian coast guards and other law enforcement authorities.
- Take measures to limit the use of unseaworthy vessels and take action against the supply chains and logistics of smugglers; and ensure the disabling of recuperated boats and dinghies.
- Increase support by the EUAA to apply swift border and accelerated procedures, including the use of the safe country of origin concept, rejecting applications as manifestly unfounded, issuing entry bans and recording them in the Schengen Information System (SIS).
- Increase awareness and communication campaigns to disincentivise the Mediterranean crossings, while continue working to offer alternatives such as humanitarian admission and legal pathways.
- Step up cooperation with UNHCR and IOM to adopt a comprehensive route-based approach to ensure protection along the route and to increase assisted voluntary return from countries of transit.
- Implement the EU-TU Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and prioritise actions with immediate impact to address the current situation and accelerate the contracting of new projects under the MoU.
More information: European Commission