ECSA regrets the decision of Germany to withdraw from Operation Sophia because of the dispute with the Italian government over the reception of refugees.
“We are very disappointed with Germany’s decision to suspend its participation in Operation Sophia. Operation Sophia’s contribution to maritime security in the Central Mediterranean is very important,” said ECSA’s Secretary General Martin Dorsman. There has been an important reduction in the number of migrant crossings which can be attributed to the EUNAVFOR Operation Sophia, whilst it has conducted an increased proportion of rescue operations.
“The EU needs to act immediately and provide concrete solutions,” he added. “The European Member States should set aside the disputes and decide on how to cope with the refugees rescued in the Mediterranean. Ship owners will certainly comply with the international conventions and honour their legal obligations to assist people in distress on the Mediterranean. However, this must not become part of the solution.”
ECSA called upon the EU to solve the dispute and repeated its wish for the continuation of the Operation Sophia after March 2019, the current end date of the mandate.