Sweden: Joint statement on shipwreck in Mediterranean


We are dismayed by the shipwreck in the Mediterranean in which a large number of people drowned on their way to Europe.

The unscrupulous people-smugglers who exploit the situation of desperate people bear a large part of the responsibility. The reports of the tragedy are harrowing and heart-rending, and the EU must now take action and strengthen our joint measures to try to prevent a repeat of this tragedy. Sweden will work for further measures on the part of the EU to strengthen rescue operations at sea, combat refugee-smuggling and support peace processes in conflict-affected areas.

The European Commission and the European Council need to take initiatives to strengthen Operation Triton. If the EU is unable to take initiatives, individual countries should do so. Sweden stands ready to rapidly provide resources from the Swedish Coast Guard.
Libya is the transit country for the majority of those who attempt to enter the EU across the Mediterranean, and the ongoing collapse of Libya provides scope for this deadly people-smuggling. Migration and the situation in Libya will be the subject of considerable attention at the meeting of the EU foreign ministers on Monday. Sweden will push for the EU to do more, together with the UN and others, to support the peace process in Libya so that the situation stabilises and effective measures to stop people-smuggling can be implemented.
Many of those who risk their lives to reach Europe on dilapidated and over-crowded vessels are seeking refuge from war and persecution. Europe must do more to ensure that people in need of protection can come to Europe legally. At present, half of EU Member States do not even take in UN quota refugees, and the reception of asylum seekers is extremely uneven among Member States. The EU and many Member States are working actively to contribute to political solutions to the conflicts and terror that force people to flee countries such as Iraq and Syria. But in a world in which so many people are forced to flee, Europe should be doing more, and one of the basic premises of the common asylum policy should be that all Member States take in quota refugees.”
Margot Wallström, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Morgan Johansson, Minister for Justice and Migration
Photo: BBC