Magazine article European Social Policy

Asylum : Ep Adopts Eurosur but Rescue at Sea Still Needs to Be Aligned

Magazine article European Social Policy

Asylum : Ep Adopts Eurosur but Rescue at Sea Still Needs to Be Aligned

Article excerpt

"We don't need another refoulement system, but a system for the rescue of migrants in distress at sea." The appeal by Franziska Keller (Greens-EFA, Germany) to fellow members of the European Parliament proved insufficient: the report on establishment of the European border surveillance system, Eurosur, was adopted in Strasbourg by 479 in favour, 101 against and 20 abstentions. From 2 December, Eurosur will impose new obligations on member state authorities(1).

Article 1 states that member states must "ensure the protection and rescue of migrants". But what about conformity with Italian legislation? The Italian law (Bossi-Fini Act) that has already resulted in fines being imposed on fishermen who rescue immigrants trying to reach Lampedusa seems increasingly in contradiction with EU legislation. Non-refoulement and respect for human dignity, mentioned several times in the report, refer to the European Convention on Human Rights. But rapporteur Jan Mulder (ALDE, Netherlands) acknowledges that there is legal uncertainty. "That's a question I'm also asking myself. Questions specific to national laws were discussed when we drafted the report, however," the LIBE committee member told Europolitics social.

LEGAL UNCERTAINTY

Should the creation of Eurosur be matched at a later stage with an alignment of national rules regulating the actions of rescuers at sea? "Fishermen always have the moral and technical obligation to save lives at sea," notes Paul Tourret, director of the Institut superieur d'economie maritime (Isemar) in Nantes-Saint-Nazaire in France. "In the case of illegal migrants, we are in an area of uncertainty with respect to European legal provisions. The rescuing of illegal migrants is a special type of rescue. Usually, rescues involve maritime economic operators, passengers or recreational boaters, who are also players in this economy. …

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