Australia: Europe seeks advice on stopping migrants

Australian PM claims there have been contacts, but EU officials deny any migrant talks

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said European officials sought advice from his country on how to deal with the migrant crisis.

He claimed the "contacts" were "official" but an EU spokesperson denied any talks on the issue.

When Abbott was asked if Europe had sought advice from Australia, he said there has been contact between his government and Europe.

He also said "There is a lesson in what's happened here in Australia for other countries," and Europe should follow Canberra’s example.

Australia intercepts any migrant boat on its waters and detains asylum seekers in offshore camp in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. No one is allowed to settle in Australia.

The government says its "Operation Sovereign Borders" policy saves lives by deterring smugglers, but critics say it is unethical and will create  to further unrest.

After Abbott's comments, European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud denied the claim, saying that she was "not aware" of any contacts on the issue.

She added EU applies the principle of "no forced return" under international law and would never adopt Australia's controversial policy.

More than 5,000 migrants have died since the start of this year as the humanitarian situation in the Middle East and Africa worsens, forcing people to leave their homelands in hope of a new life in the West.

The EU has been under pressure to deal with the crisis, with such incidents becoming almost daily occurrences in the Mediterranean.

Southern European countries, particularly Italy, have been calling for more support from wealthier European countries.

TRTWorld and agencies