LUXEMBOURG: The European Union’s (EU’s) executive on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) pushed for extra resources to launch Mediterranean-wide search and rescue patrols after the Lampedusa tragedy as Europe struggles to cope with the flood of refugees knocking on its doors.
EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem went into talks with the bloc’s home affairs ministers saying she would propose “a big Frontex operation right across the Mediterranean from Cyprus to Spain for a big search and rescue operation.”
Frontex is the European Union agency in charge of policing the 28-nation bloc’s borders against illegal migration.
“I’m going to ask for the backing and the resources needed to do this, to save more lives,” Malmstroem said.
The shipwreck last week off the Italian island of Lampedusa, in which more than 300 African asylum-seekers are feared dead, has put the divisive question of migration back on the front page of the EU’s political agenda.
Earlier Tuesday, 400 people claiming to be Syrian and Palestinian refugees were saved off the Italian coast by a Danish and a Panamanian vessel when their boats ran into trouble.