EU's inaction in the Mediterranean

The Council on Social Responsibility of the Methodist Church in Ireland is deeply saddened by the ongoing failure of the European Union in regard to those desperately in need of rescue in the Mediterranean Sea. This failure was exemplified last week by the European Parliament being unable to process a resolution, with all the appropriate safeguards, that would support the non-criminalisation of those involved in search and rescue operations. We reiterate what we wrote to all MEPs from Ireland (South and North) in June.


The Conference of the Methodist Church in Ireland is appalled at the plight of migrants seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea over recent years. We are conscious that their journeys reflect the conflict, poverty and loss inflicted upon them in their home countries. However, even with all this horror, we are deeply repulsed at the human rights abuses being committed against migrants detained in Libya, being subjected to intense abuse and slavery.

We are appalled at the ending of rescue operations by the EU in the Mediterranean for migrants risking their lives for a better life in Europe, and outsourcing such rescues to the Libyan authorities. Such policies have undermined confidence in the EU and its core principles and are not done in the name of Irish Methodists.

We urge that the EU would introduce a properly funded policy to address the needs of migrants and treat them with dignity and respect while they are under the EU’s remit. The safety of migrants in the Mediterranean area is the responsibility of the whole EU and should not be left to southern EU countries.

We would ask that all MEPs work to ensure that the Convention on human rights and all EU protections are given to migrants. In the event that the EU legislation does not give such protections, we would ask that MEPs put forward the required legislation to afford migrants the full protections in law.

The Methodist Church in Ireland seeks to support and engage with our newly elected MEPs in pursuing justice and peace for all, and this letter comes with our prayerful support in your pursuit of these things.