According to Malta Today, Dr Roberta Metsola has said that Alternattiva Demokratika’s views on saving life at sea are “absolute rubbish”.
Alternattiva Demokratika Chairperson, Prof. Arnold Cassola, said: “Whilst we are both agreeing on the need of ensuring the saving of the maximum of lives at sea, unfortunately with her amendments Dr Metsola is actually trying to avoid any specific rules on search and rescue as well as on disembarkation in the proposed regulation. The EU Commission has suggested that ‘the modalities for the disembarkation of the persons intercepted or rescued in a sea operation shall be set out in the operational plan’. But, in contrast to Dr Metsola, the Commission has detailed precise rules both for search and rescue and for disembarkation in the draft regulation – the very same rules Dr Metsola wants to delete with her amendments, thus giving rise to different rules on how to rescue people and on where to disembark them for each and every different mission.
“Unfortunately, Dr Metsola’s amendments on disembarkation do not seem to be in line with international law. According to international law, a ‘place of safety’ is the appropriate place for disembarkation. Yet, Dr Metsola wants to amend so that people should be disembarked at a suitable port OR place of safety . There is no definition of what a “suitable port” is. Basically, without the definition, it might not necessarily be a safe place.”
Prof. Cassola concluded: “All the compromise amendments to the Coelho text are now supported by all political groups in the EP (apart from Dr Metsola and several EPP members). These compromise amendments now contain exactly the same wording as the international rules on search an rescue. There is no point for her not to vote in favour. When people are drowning we want the guidelines to become binding for all Frontex operations. Otherwise they are just meaningless.”