The situation in the Mediterranean is dramatic. It cannot continue like this. We cannot accept that hundreds of people die when trying to cross the sea to Europe. This is why I have decided to call an extraordinary European Council this Thursday. And this is also why I travelled to the region three weeks ago.
The objective of the summit is to discuss, at the highest level, what we, the Member States and the EU institutions together, can and must do to alleviate the situation now.
I do not expect any quick-fix solutions to the root causes of migration - because there are none. Had they existed, we would have used them long ago.
But I do expect that the Commission and the European External Action Service will present options for immediate action. And I do expect Member States will contribute immediately.
Some of the topics that we will need to address as a matter of urgency are
- how to stop the human traffickers that cynically earn money by putting the migrants' lives at risk;
- how to step up our combined efforts of rescuing people in need;
- how to better help the EU Members States most affected; and
- how to step up our co-operation with the countries of origin and transit.
The European Council Thursday will build on the discussion today by the Council meeting of foreign ministers and justice and home affairs ministers. And I have also called a coordination meeting with the Commission, the High Representative and the Latvian Presidency to prepare the summit.
The situation in the Mediterranean concerns not only the countries in our Southern neighbourhood, it concerns all of us, all of Europe. That is why we need to act, and act together, now.