EU Search and Rescue Activities in the Mediterranean

This article focuses on the EU’s search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean, the location of some of the world’s deadliest migration routes. It argues that saving lives at sea is not an act of grace, nor of simple solidarity with those at risk. Rather, it is first and foremost a legal obligation under international law. Understanding this fact is essential when engaging in the underlying and frequently misleading debate on our humanitarian obligation to render assistance to people in distress at sea. The article also makes the point that the EU must clearly distinguish between economic migrants and refugees in need of humanitarian protection, and prioritise dedicating its resources to those genuinely in need of safeguarding. Legal pathways and humanitarian corridors can only be set up for refugees.


Read the full article of the June 2020 issue of the European View, the Martens Centre policy journal.