EU to hold talks to determine action on migrant safety following tragedy

EU to hold emergency meeting on migrant safety after Mediterranean tragedy kills 900

Updated Jul 28, 2015

EU foreign ministers gathered in Luxembourg Monday to discuss EU efforts to protect migrants aiming to reach the EU, after 900 died in attempted Mediterranean.

Following the capsizing of a migrant vessel Monday, which is believed to have caused the deaths of 900 people, the European Council called for an emergency meeting of foreign ministers.

With worries that the death toll from the tragedy could reach 950, 28 officials from the continent will discuss how they can respond to future disasters and shipwrecks.

Only 28 survivors from the capsized ship have been found.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini originally called for the meeting at short notice, and stated that “With this latest tragedy, we have no more excuses, the EU has no more excuses, the member states have no more excuses.”

“The main issue here is to build a common sense of European responsibility, knowing that there is no easy solution.”

The EU on the whole has abandoned search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean, such as Operation Mare Nostrum (OMN), with only Italy continuing to carry out search and rescue efforts.

OMN was halted following the insistence of U.K.’s Foreign Office Minister Baroness Anelay in October.

Anelay claimed that search and rescue efforts only urged further migration attempts, instead proposing the EU adopt Operation Triton, a migrant processing action plan which offers no attempt at naval rescue.

Italy has refused to end OMN, remaining the only country continuing search and rescue missions.

In a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi declared that "the Mediterranean is a sea and not a cemetery,” in a show of Italy’s dedication to continued efforts.

Due to increasing poverty and war in Africa and the Middle East, the number of migrant vessels headed to Europe has seen considerable increases over the past year.

The OMN has led to the rescue of over 150 thousand migrants to date.

TRTWorld and agencies