23 | 04 | 2019

The president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said that “Mussolini? Before he declared war on the entire world, following Hitler; before he introduced racial laws… he did some positive things to build infrastructure in our country, he built roads, bridges, buildings, sports facilities and reclaimed large swaths of Italy from marshes. If we look at concrete facts, we can’t say he hasn’t achieved anything.”

Dear Minister,

31 January 2019

We, the undersigned organisations, networks and platforms, write to you to express our grave concerns and urge you to act over the current crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. Since January 2018, at least 2,500 women, children and men have drowned in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, EU leaders have allowed themselves to become complicit in the tragedy unfolding before their eyes.

A joint appeal from European Communist and Workers' Parties for the upcoming EP elections.

As the European Elections of May 2019 approach, a joint appeal is issued by a number of Communist and Workers' Parties from Europe. The declaration boldly underlines that the European Union functions as a European imperialist center and declares that any expectation for "reforming" or "democratizing" this institution in a pro-people direction has been proved to be futile.

Following an administrative, political and judicial harassment campaign targeting the Aquarius, SOS MEDITERRANEE announced its decision to stop chartering the ship it was operating with since the beginning of 2016. The Aquarius could no longer be a durable solution to save lives at sea after losing its flag under political pressure twice (Gibraltar and then Panama) and then being threatened with seizure by Italian judicial authorities. Despite our best efforts, negotiations with several countries to find a flag had not been successful.

Premeditated illegal disposal of on-board waste with the aim of financially benefiting from it as part of a “criminal operation”: these are the pressed charges by the Prosecutor of Catania (Italy) following the conclusion of its investigation against Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the medical partner of SOS MEDITERRANEE, on 20 November. The methods used during this investigation, such as tapping phones and intercepting emails, are otherwise commonly used in anti-mafia or anti-terrorism operations. The accusation spread across the media, supported by allegedly incriminating images published by the judiciary. The claim was that the clothing and food of the rescued people were contaminated with pathogens and must have been disposed as hazardous waste.

A new year means new beginnings, especially considering the past months, which have been very rocky. Our rescue operations were deliberately disrupted and targeted. This month we were forced to terminate the chartering contract for our rescue ship Aquarius by January, instead of renewing for another year. The risk that the Aquarius may be seized, would not be issued a new flag and thus not be able to return to sea, was simply too high. But SOS MEDITERRANEE’s work continues!

As search and rescue organisations, we are grateful that thanks to the initiative of the Socialists and Democrats Group, we were nominated for the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. This nomination is acknowledging the vital role which NGOs have played in saving human lives during the past years. Last year alone, NGOs have conducted about 40% of the rescues in the Central Mediterranean.

This year constitutes an extraordinary year for the protection of human rights – and simultaneously their devaluation – as it marks the 70th anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. However, in light of current EU migration policies, there is no cause for celebration. Over 2.100 people died this year, trying to reach safety in Europe. EU member states should use this anniversary to evaluate European migration policies with regards to the values agreed by the international community after the atrocities of the Second World War.

Despite the hostile environment targeting NGOs working at sea, SOS MEDITERRANEE remains fully committed to provide lifesaving assistance and is preparing to resume search and rescue operations in early 2019.

The European Initiative of Communist and Workers' Parties has released a statement in face of the 101st anniversary of the Great Socialist Revolution of October.

The European Communist Initiative (ECI), considering the October Revolution as the greatest event of the 20th century, reflects the achievements of the socialist system, including equality, social and economic rights to a great extent, reminding that "the working class in the capitalist countries was stronger thanks to the existence of socialist countries".

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