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Libya: EU countries must stand up and be counted. Simon Busuttil MEP

Date

02 Mar 2011

Sections

Global Europe

Addressing the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee earlier today, Simon Busuttil MEP called on EU countries to stand up and be counted in the face of the tumultuous events taking place in Libya and their likely consequences on Europe's frontiers.

The extraordinary meeting was addressed by the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom, Frontex Executive Director Ilkka Laitenen, Pierre Vimont, Secretary General of the EEAS, and Ambassador Gyorgus on behalf of the Hungarian Presidency.

Addressing the meeting on behalf of the EPP group, Simon Busuttil pointed out three main priorities.

Firstly, the urgent need to stop the violence. He said that although the UN and the EU were quick to adopt sanctions, it was not clear whether these would achieve their intended result to stop violence. Second, he called for the urgent deployment of humanitarian aid to supply the Libyan people with basic food and pharmaceutical supplies which were fast running out. Third, the EU needed to be prepared for a possible wave of immigration of Libyan refugees. He asked whether Frontex had prepared an operational plan to cater for this possibility and whether refugees would be redirected to the liberated areas of Libya, such as Benghazi, or whether they would be shared among different EU Member States.

Pointing out that in just one week, Malta had received twelve thousand evacuees from 89 different countries who had fled Libya, Simon Busuttil called upon all countries to stand up and be counted should Libyan nationals too decide to flee their country for the same reasons.

In response, Commissioner Malmstrom said that whereas Ministers in Council had no appetite for burden sharing she was sure that if push came to shove, all EU countries would live up to the principle of solidarity.

Frontex Executive Director, Ilkka Laitenen announced that he would be travelling to Valletta today to work on preparations for a possible mission in the area.

For more information:
Simon BUSUTTIL MEP, Tel: +32-2-2847686
David Stellini, EPP Group Press & Communications Service, Tel: +32-473-541926

Notes to Editors:
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 265 Members.

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