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Mediterranean migrant crisis: EU leaders to discuss migrant quota

More than 1,800 migrants have died in the Mediterranean this year while seeking passage to Europe

Louis Dore
Tuesday 16 June 2015 09:45 BST

EU leaders will discuss quotas on tens of thousands of migrants seeking entrance to Europe each year by sea in upcoming talks in Luxembourg.

A key issue for interior ministers at the talks will be a plan for more even distribution of asylum seekers across the 28 EU states, which have put a large strain on Italian, Greek and Maltese resources.

However some EU nations argue that migrants should not be forced to move to countries in which they do not wish to settle.

More than 1,800 migrants have died in the Mediterranean this year while seeking passage to Europe, 20 times the amount for the same period in 2014.

The Italian government called for a fair distribution of new arrivals around Europe and more enforced repatriations of those deemed "economic migrants", after over 47,000 have arrived by sea to Italy in 2015.

However plans to resettle illegal migrants across migrants and disrupt human trafficking networks have yet to be agreed.

On Saturday the head of Italy’s anti-immigration Northern League party, Matteo Salvini talked about the migrant crisis, saying: "Europe doesn’t give a damn."

His words followed Northern Italian leaders' conflicts with the interior ministry by threatening to withhold funds from municipalities in regions that accepted more migrants from Southern regions.

The Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, hit back at Mr Roberto Maroni for these comments, saying it was no good for Italy to call on the rest of Europe to help it bear the burden of the migrant crisis when parts of Italy were acting so selfishly.

Last month the HMS Bulwark rescued hundreds of migrants travelling from Libya and was reported by The Independent to be returning to the region for further operations of this kind on 6 June to rescue thousands more migrants.

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