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European Commission


Brussels, 11 October 2013

Statement by EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, on the boat capsized in the channel of Sicily

I am following with sadness and anxiety the rescue operations currently on-going by the Maltese and Italian authorities to assist the people from a boat that capsized in the Mediterranean. Unfortunately the incident has caused new victims and I express my condolences to their families and my support and gratitude to Italy and Malta and the people who are carrying out the rescue operations, whose courage and quick reaction have contributed to reducing the death toll.

These new horrible events are happening while we still have the shocking images of the tragedy in Lampedusa in our minds and stress even more strongly the urgency of a wide Frontex search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean, from Cyprus to Spain, to better detect and assist boats in distress. I reiterate my call to all EU Member States to quickly make available the necessary resources to allow Frontex to define the details of such an operation.

In the aftermath of the Lampedusa tragedy we heard solidarity expressions from all EU countries, but these will remain only empty words if they are not followed by concrete actions. I also call on North African countries, in particular Libya, to fight more effectively the criminals who put these people in unseaworthy vessels and organise these journeys of death.

I wish to repeat my call to Member States to engage more in resettlement of refugees in order to find safe ways for them to receive protection in the EU.

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