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EU migrant plan not sufficient

Germany
24.04.2015
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
International organizations say EU migrant plan needs to be expanded
EU plans to stem migration in the Mediterranean need to be followed up by broader strategies that address the reasons why people leave their homes and seek to come to Europe, international organizations said Friday in Geneva.
GALLERY
Geneva (dpa) - "It‘s a start, but more needs to be done," said Itayi Viriri, a spokesman of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The UN refugee agency estimates that more than 800 migrants died at the weekend after a boat capsized 130 kilometres north of Libya, bringing the death toll of migrants in the Mediterranean to about 1,750 so far this year.

EU leaders agreed Thursday in Brussels to triple funding for the bloc‘s sea patrols and advanced plans for possible military action against smuggling networks, reacting to a deadly migrant shipwreck.

But other proposals proved more controversial among the member states, who have long struggled to respond to the growing influx of migrants to the bloc.

The leaders could not agree on the size of a pilot project to offer refugees long-term resettlement in the European Union. Their final statement also did not mention ideas to set up asylum-processing centres in North Africa.

The IOM said it was still waiting to hear how many people the EU would accept, Viriri said, reiterating that it believes the bloc should offer 20,000 places per year.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the EU had taken an "important first step," but said the immediate test of the strategy would be whether it led to a reduction in drowned migrants.

"Efforts still need to be made to address the root causes pushing people to flee, and to support governments in truly protecting refugees and others more effectively, ensuring full respect for human rights," UNHCR added.

The European Commission is due to unveil a comprehensive migration agenda on May 13, in which it is expected to put forward longer-term proposals to tackle migration challenges.

The UN refugee agency estimates that more than 800 migrants died at the weekend after a boat capsized 130 kilometres north of Libya, bringing the death toll of migrants in the Mediterranean to about 1,750 so far this year.

Besides strengthening the EU‘s maritime presence, EU leaders also vowed to destroy traffickers‘ vessels before they are used.

But the IOM was sceptical of this plan, arguing that smugglers would turn to whatever vessels they could find if their boats were destroyed.

For this and the other planned EU strategies to work, the bloc would have to cooperate with Libya, the main point of departure, as well as with the African Union, Variri added.

EU leaders proposed holding a joint summit with the AU later this year, while the bloc is supporting UN efforts to resolve the crisis in Libya, where rival governments are vying for power.

 

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