20 | 06 | 2019

firIn a resolution passed with 355 votes to 90 and 39 abstentions, MEPs denounce that the lack of serious action against these groups has enabled the current xenophobic surge in Europe. The text mentions the attack that killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, the murder of UK MP Jo Cox in 2016 and the recent attack by fascist squads in Italy against MEP Eleonora Forenza. It also refers to several incidents involving fascists in Poland, Greece, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Latvia and the Nordic countries.

firThe next elections to the European Parliament will take place in May 2019. For the International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR) - Association of Anti-Fascists, its member-federations in almost all European countries and Israel, veterans of antifascist struggle and antifascists of today's generation, these elections are very important for a variety of reasons:

In recent years, we have often had to experience painfully that the present policy and development of the European Union does not correspond to the interests of large parts of the people in the European countries. In particular, the response to refugee situation and the fiscal clout of several states have deepened the social divide in Europe. Numerous decisions lead to massive social exclusion and dismantling of workers' rights, at the expense of the weakest in the respective countries. At the same time, the tendencies to foreclosure of the "fortress Europe" are massive reinforced and the development of a European military power for international missions is promoted.

An Italian member of our rescue team wrote a moving text on the tragedy that has opened the eyes of the world to the humanitarian tragedy that is still unfolding in the Mediterranean. By Alessandro Porro.

Five years. It took five years for Europe to forget the Lampedusa tragedy. On October 3 2013, a boat that departed from Libya sank near the island, causing the death of 369 people.This resulted in mass outrage and shame at the time, leading to Italy proclaiming a day of national mourning and reviewing the laws on reception and integration of refugees.

We, members of civil society, are joining the crew of the Aquarius, the last active civil rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, in demanding that all States in Europe uphold the duty to save lives in distress at sea prior to any political considerations and in full respect of applicable international law. We call upon all States in Europe to:

  • Take all measures available to allow the Aquarius to resume its life-saving mission as soon as possible,
  •  Comply with the duty to render assistance to people in distress at sea,
  • Assume their responsibilities by establishing an effective European rescue model in the Mediterranean.

1. We welcome the announcement by France and Malta of a coordinated European response: The 58 survivors of 2 rescues events, who are at the moment on board the Aquarius, will be transshipped on a Maltese asset, in international waters. According to the information released officially by the Maltese government, the survivors will be disembarked in Malta and all of them will be immediately redistributed in another four European Union member states.We have no information where these people will be redistributed.

The Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) exposed EU’s disregard for national sovereignty and social rights.

The Portugese Communist Party (PCP) strongly denounced and condemned the attacks ‘on democracy, social rights, fundamental freedoms and guarantees of the citizens in Hungary.’ The PCP also rejected that under the pretext of this situation the European Union (EU) tries to pave the way to increase its threats, blackmail, impositions and sanctions against the States and their peoples, which portrays the policies of the EU itself.

The Aquarius is resuming her mission because rescuing people is the duty, responsibility and purpose of all ships and crews in the Central Mediterranean. However, today, the ships dedicated to search and rescue of boats in distress are fewer than ever.

The Aquarius is sailing back into international waters off the coast of Libya because this is her right. The aid she can, and always has, provided is efficient, professional and humane. 

SOS MEDITERRANEE emphasizes that it is the EU’s failure to reduce the number of deaths in the Mediterranean that forced humanitarian organizations to step up and take on search and rescue activities, to prevent further loss of life.

We therefore welcome the announcement that the next European Council on the 28th and 29th of June would discuss this matter. We also welcome the fact that a preparatory informal meeting has been called by the President of the European Commission, due to take place this Sunday 24th of June in Brussels.

The distance between the current position of the Aquarius and the port of Valencia in Spain is 760 nautical miles, more than 1.500 kilometers. At a cruising speed of about 10 knots – which may vary depending on weather conditions – it will take the Aquarius more than three days of navigation before it reaches the port of Valencia for the disembarkation of the 629 survivors currently on board.

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