The EU has helped rescue nearly 730,000 immigrants during rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea since 2015. This is according to figures provided by the European Commission, which German media quoted on Sunday.
The newspapers in the Funke Media Group mentioned a letter the European immigration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, sent to the European Parliament. The letter said saving lives was the EU and its member state’s top priority.
He said NGOs have played a crucial role in rescue missions out at sea and their work should not be criminalised.
He did say that those taking part in these missions must abide by international laws and not contribute to the continuation of human trafficking.
The EU suspended its naval deployment for Operation Sophia this week. Operation Sophia targets those smuggling immigrants via increased aerial surveillance.