Labour MEPs today welcomed the European Commission's new migration strategy but urged caution over calls for military action.
First Vice President Frans Timmermans and migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos announced a number of measures to MEPs this morning, including a tripling of resources for the EU's external border agency Frontex.
Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:
"The Commission's proposals are an important step in the right direction to achieving safer and legal routes to the EU. It is a welcome shift away from a reactive and inadequate EU approach to the crisis in the Mediterranean.
"I welcome the proposals to increase the operational area of Triton. However, I share reservations with many experts on the militarised approach to combating smugglers' boats.
"Military interventions to ensure safe passage and highly targeted action on trafficking is critical but the military-style interventions currently being proposed give rise to serious concern. The death toll must be reduced, not increased.
"It is clear the Commission and Council statements do not talk about mandatory quotas. However, there is an expectation that national governments committed to intervention off the coast of Libya and committed to search and rescue must also express solidarity and responsibility sharing with regards to relocation and resettlement.
"It is clear there is an imbalance in current resettlement policy and it is important responsibility-sharing is more fairly represented across the European Union."