Amid severe criticism that it was unprepared and reacted too slowly to the Mediterranean boat migrant crisis, the European Union will this week roll out a series of proposals – including a quota scheme – to stem the great numbers of people seeking refuge in Europe.
The EU says that it will begin to “distribute” refugees and migrants among the 28 countries that make up the European body. Germany, which accepted 200,000 migrants last year, is a big proponent of the new measure, as is Italy, which rescued more than 150,000 seafaring migrants in 2014.
London is opposed to the measure.
But the pressure is on for the EU to establish a quick – and lasting – policy to deal with the crisis.
The UN said last week that at least 1,800 men, women and children had drowned and died as they attempted to cross from North Africa to southern Europe.
The UN said that more than 60,000 people – Somalis, Syrians, Egyptians, and Libyans – had made the perilous journey between January and April this year.
On Monday, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini will officially request a UN Security Council mandate to include a military option to pursue and arrest human traffickers in the Mediterranean, as well as destroy their naval crafts.
On Sunday, the Guardian reported that the military operations would involve 10 European countries and be led by Italy.
The EU decided last month that Mogherini would also open diplomatic channels with North African nations in this regard.
It’s likely to be a hard sell.
Libya, a key exit point for human traffickers transporting desperate refugees to Italy and Greece, opposes the idea of military action.
Libyan officials say they have not been contacted.
The BRICS POST with inputs from Agencies