The fate of the six hundred or so migrants stranded in the Mediterranean aboard the Aquarius ship forced Europe into some soul-searching.
And it became the battleground for MEPs, as they came together at a Strasbourg plenary session.
"When for God's sake will the European Council take a decision on this migration issue, and take responsibility, when?" asked Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian Liberal MEP.
Former Italian integration minister, now socialist MEP, Cecile Kyenge, is calling on on EU members to step up and help Spain.
She told Euronews: "Spain has decided to welcome migrants. Other member states should show that there is indeed solidarity between the different countries. Migrants should be relocated in other member states."
But solidarity has been in short supply, more of a concept than reality. Measure taken in 2016 to relocate migrants evidence of this.
"There is no European solidarity in migration. We decided to relocate within the European Union 160,000 asylum seekers," commented Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts.
"More than two years later, we are at 30,000. We can see that most Member States are dragging their feet."
Brussels is ploughing billions into boosting border defences. It's also tackling smuggling gangs. But money alone is unlikely to be enough to manage the migrant flows coming into Europe, which show no sign of stopping.