An open letter to Martin Schulz, signed by 60 MEPs from 6 groups and 18 Memberstates – and counting (fast).
Members of the European Parliament
A few days ago you opened the plenary session with a minute’s silence for 400 drowned refugees. You made a deeply moving speech in which you called Europe’s border in the Mediterranean the most deadliest in the world and mentioned how many such minutes of silence we have already observed – five in the last ten months. You then asked when we are likely to hold the next minute’s silence.
A few days later another seven hundred people drowned in the Mediterranean.
We should not remain silent on this issue.
We should take a clear position against Council and Commission.
The extremely high number of deaths this spring is also attributable to the fact that the “Mare Nostrum” rescue programme financed solely by Italy was stopped and the EU-funded Frontex programme “Triton” is only intended to seal off the border without saving any human lives. The cost difference involves an estimated saving of 70 million Euros.
Refugee policy is not our area of responsibility as members of the European Parliament, whereas the budget is. We can request the European Council and Commission to finally take action or fight for the missing amount of money. We will fix the next EU budget before summer. It cannot be adopted by governments and the European Commission without the approval of the European Parliament. We have a power of veto.
The budget of the European Parliament amounts to 1.8 billion Euros while the total budget of the European Union is 141 billion Euros. We need only 0.05 percent of this sum. Yes, most of this will be spent very wisely, but there is nothing more meaningful than to save the lives of thousands of people, including hundreds of under-age children.
We, the signing Members, want to fight for the money to rescue these people, together, across political groups and member states. We will vote against any EU-budget, that does not include a rescue mission compareable to Mare Nostrum or even better. We will talk to colleagues and try to get a majority for a blockade of the budget in this case.
we would ask you to bring this position to the attention of the Commission and the Heads of States. And we would be very happy if you personally would join our claim.