Council President Donald Tusk today (20 April) called an extraordinary EU summit on the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean, to be held on Thursday (23 April), after a fishing boat capsized overnight off the Libyan coast, killing as many as 700 migrants.
As EURACTIV reported, Tusk consulted with EU leaders over the emergency summit, as EU ministers of foreign affairs and of justice and home affairs gathered today in Luxembourg to discuss the crisis.
“The situation in the Med is dramatic. It cannot continue like this. We cannot accept that hundreds of people die when they try to cross the sea to Europe. This is why I have decided to call an extraordinary summit this Thursday,” said Tusk in a video message.
He said that the objective of the summit was to discuss at the highest level what the member states and the institutions can immediately do together to alleviate the situation.
“I do not expect any quick fix solutions to the root causes of migration, because there are none. Had they existed we would have used them long ago. But I do expect that the Commission and the European External Action Service will present options for an immediate action. And I do expect member states to contribute immediately,” Tusk added.
Some of the topics EU leaders will need to address are how to stop the human traffickers “that cynically earn money by putting the migrant’s lives at risk”, how to step up their combined efforts of rescuing people in need, how to better help the member states most affected, and how to step up cooperation with the countries of origin and transit.
Tusk said that the summit would build on the extraordinary meeting of foreign and interior affairs ministers, which is still ongoing. He also said he had called a coordination meeting of the Commission, EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and the Latvian Presidency of the EU, to prepare the meeting.
“The situation in Med concerns not only the countries in our southern neighbourhood, it concerns all of us, all of Europe, that’s why we need to act and act together now”, Tusk concluded.