Carola Rackete, currently a non-commissioned captain, has called for an EU-wide sea rescue service for migrants in the Mediterranean in the European Parliament. It was a shame for Europe that there was still no long-term solution to how to rescue people from the EU countries, said Rackete in Brussels. The occasion was the sixth anniversary of the sinking of a refugee boat off the Italian island of Lampedusa, in which more than 300 people drowned.
The EU should take its humanitarian mission seriously and not hand over responsibility to countries like Libya, where refugees expect an uncertain fate, said Rackete. "Libya is not a safe haven." At present there are only a few rescue ships. Every day, people are killed.
Rackete demands come a few days before a meeting of EU interior ministers in Luxembourg. There Horst Seehofer (CSU), together with the interior ministers of France, Italy and Malta, wants to persuade other EU countries to join a voluntary transitional arrangement. In the future, rescued persons will be distributed to the participating EU countries within four weeks.
End of procedure in one to two years
Against rackete run in Italy investigations, among other things for assistance to the illegal immigration. At the end of June, she drove her ship with about 50 migrants to the port of Lampedusa, resisting the order of the right-wing interior minister Matteo Salvini. Rackete had been arrested for the time being, but was released a few days later. Your ship "Sea-Watch 3" may not set sail again, Rackete expects an end to the proceedings in one to two years.
In the European Parliament, the 31-year-old reported on operations in the Mediterranean, where her ship was surrounded by bodies floating in the water. Nevertheless, "nothing was as bad" as the experience with the Sea-Watch 3: After 17 days on the crowded ship "I had to force entry into the Italian port," said Rackete, where she "like the plague on board" had been received.
The majority of members of Parliament's Interior Committee supported Rackete in her belief that she had done the right thing, and she received standing ovations. In the case of right-wing MEPs, however, her appearance met with fierce opposition. As a captain of an NGO ship, she was "part of a criminal network," accused her of the Belgian deputy Tom Vandendriessche. "That's why you should not be here, but in a prison cell," said right wing Vlaams Belang.