European Union Body to hold emergency meeting over incessant migrant drownings

Ahead of the foreign ministers meeting, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said there was "no easy solution, no magic solution".

  • Published:
play (BBC)
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In the wake of several tragic drownings of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from Africa, the European Union foreign and interior ministers are due to meet in Luxembourg to discuss solutions.

BBC reports that some southern European nations say the EU's credibility is now at stake after last year's decision to scale back search and rescue efforts.

Ahead of the foreign ministers meeting, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said there was "no easy solution, no magic solution".

According to him,

"We have a political and moral duty to exercise our role. The Mediterranean is our sea and we have to act together as Europeans. It is also [in] our interest, [in that] of our credibility; the European Union was built and is built around the protection of human rights, human dignity and the life of human people - we need to be consistent in that."

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called for an emergency EU summit by the end of this week, adding trafficking was "a plague in our continent".

Also Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that Libya is key to resolving the crisis as human smugglers are taking advantage of the political crisis in Libya to use it as a launching point for boats carrying migrants who are fleeing violence or economic hardship in Africa and the Middle East.

play Migrant casualties in figures (BBC)

 

The EU has been criticised for its policy since the rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, was ended last year. Some EU members said they could not afford it and expressed concerns that it was encouraging more migrants.

Since then, it now runs a more limited border control operation called Triton.

This year alone, about 1,500 migrants are now feared to have drowned attracting strong condemnation from Italian media, with Italian commenter, Claudio Magris writing for Corriere della Sera terming it EU's "obscene" indifference.

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