Ahead of a European summit on refugees in Malta this week, Euro-Med Monitor Chair Ramy Abdu, PhD, handed a letter to a Luxembourg immigration official calling for increased EU resettlement quotas and common standards for processing asylum requests.

Abdu met in the Gaza Strip with Jean Asselborn, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, as well as Immigration and Asylum in Luxembourg. The EU Foreign Affairs Committee is meeting beginning Monday, with participation of other parliamentarians, to address the immigration and refugee crisis, particularly the influx into the Balkans.

Over the past 10 months, nearly 3,500 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean Sea after fleeing their conflict-ridden countries, in a desperate bid to reach Europe. In all of 2014, a total of 3,279 drowned. In addition, more than 430,000 asylum seekers had reached the EU by mid September of this year.

“It is clear these human tragedies will continue repeating themselves as long as those seeking refuge from trauma have no safe options for a better life,” said Abdu.  “Instead of working on keeping refugees out, EU countries must work together to develop manageable solutions that respect the rights and dignity of all.”

Specifically, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor calls upon the European Union to consider re-implementing Operation Mare Nostrum, the Italian initiative that rescued more than 150,000 migrants from the sea in 2013 and 2014, and to work closely with origin and transit countries to support their services to refugees and share the burden.