During a debate in the European Parliament, a number of Euro MPs have come out against the position taken by Italy in the case of the immigrants on board the Aquarius. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani appealed to EU leaders to take decisions, and not leave Mediterranean countries on their own.
In a two-hour debate on immigration in the European Parliament, Tajani described the situation in the Mediterranean as an emergency and requiring EU intervention, adding that this was a problem which could not be solved by member states on their own. Tajani requested the Council of the European Union to desist from putting this problem under the carpet and leaving the issue between the member states.
Antonio Tajani stated that “these confrontations make it more difficult for a solution to be found. If we recognise what will happen in the coming years, we have to decide without delay. By the year 2050 there will be 2.5 billion persons in Africa.”
The European Commissioner for Immigration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said he would not be involving himself in an argument about which country is to blame on the Aquarius issue, adding that each member country has to assume responsibility.
Dimitris Avramopoulos stated that “our migration policy can only succeed if we work together in a spirit of solidarity and sincere cooperation and most importantly in trust, not if a country proceeds with unilateral and uncoordinated initiatives.”
Various Euro MPs, including Italians, condemned the behaviour of Home Affairs Minister Matteo Salvini, referring to him as populist, xenophobic and inhuman.
Maltese Euro MPs Roberta Metsola, David Casa and Miriam Dalli stated that Malta has for many years been warning about this situation. They appealed for Malta and Italy to work and push the European Union towards taking a concrete position.