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The Estonian delegation took part in the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean (PA-UfM) in Morocco.

The Head of our delegation Imre Sooäär said that stopping human trafficking on the Mediterranean Sea, and breaking up the criminal gangs active in the area are crucial steps to solve the refugee crisis.

“We must make serious efforts to ensure that the people fleeing the current military conflicts could lead secure lives in their home regions. We should prioritise the improved security and extension of security zones in the war-ravaged Southern Mediterranean countries,” Sooäär added.

He explained that a 10,000-strong criminal network earns an estimated EUR 6 billion a year from illegal transport of refugees, as assessed by Europol. “90 % of the refugees come to Europe through this criminal network. As long as we let this criminal business go on unhindered, the refugee crisis will continue to escalate,” Sooäär said in his presentation.

The main topic of the PA-UfM sitting was how to improve the cooperation between the Southern Mediterranean and the European countries in issues concerning the migrant crisis, cultural and economic relations, and politics.

Another topic for discussion was the future of the PA-UfM as an organisation. Estonian, Italian, German, and Austrian delegations made numerous proposals on changing the organisation of work in the PA-UfM. These will be implemented by Italy, who took over the presidency of the Assembly.

The other member of the Estonian delegation present in Tangiers was Henn Põlluaas.

The PA-UfM unites 280 MPs, including representatives from all the EU national parliaments and the European Parliament, from the ten founding members of the PA-UfM, and five Euro-Mediterranean partnership countries.

Riigikogu Press Service
Kati Varblane
Phone: 631 6353, 516 9152
Questions: press@riigikogu.ee