Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos is today travelling to Lampedusa, Italy. He will take part, together with Italian Minister of the Interior Marco Minniti, in the commemoration ceremony in memory of the victims of the tragedy which took place off the island's coast four years ago when over 360 persons lost their lives whilst trying to reach Europe.
Ahead of the visit, Commissioner Avramopoulos said: "Today we remember the many lives lost, dreams destroyed, hope shattered of those trying to reach these shores, fleeing war and persecution. We commemorate the tragedy of 3 October 2013 – but we also commemorate each and every individual tragedy since then. Saving lives at sea and working towards safe and legal routes for those in need of protection has always been our priority. Our European history and heritage reminds us of our duties and our legacy towards solidarity, tolerance and openness."
Since 2015, 620,000 lives have been saved in the Aegean and the Mediterranean thanks to the Italian and Greek rescue operations as well as the European Border and Coast Guard's Triton and Poseidon operations and Operation Sophia. Building on the progress achieved so far, the Commission last week presented next steps towards a stronger, more effective and fairer EU migration and asylum policy.