MSF: “We call upon the European Commission and EU States to urgently invest in life-saving rescue capacities”

Today, the European Parliament, representing the citizens of the EU, adopted a Resolution on the need for the European Union to step up its efforts in saving lives at sea and to invest in proactive state-led search and rescue activities. We call upon the European Commission and EU States to take this call from the European Parliament seriously and urgently invest in life-saving rescue capacities. The European Parliament also calls on the role of the European Commission in ensuring EU States take on their duties with regards to search and rescue, as outlined in international maritime law.

On the same day, MSF and 4 other NGOs have submitted a complaint to the European Commission about Italian Law 15/2023, and the practice by Italian authorities of assigning ports far from where rescues at sea take place, to disembark people from humanitarian search and rescue vessels. It is the responsibility of the European Commission as ‘the guardian of the EU treaties’ to ensure that EU member states respect international and EU law. The European Parliament’s Resolution amplifies our call for the Commission to take action and take the necessary steps to ensure the fundamental rights of people in distress at sea are respected and the obstruction of life-saving work of NGOs at sea finally comes to an end.

Juan Matías Gil
MSF Search and Rescue Representative

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