A complete mess – Malta’s assessment of Europe’s efforts to deal with illegal migrants stranded at sea.
After a day of talks EU Interior Ministers remain divided over what to do, with Malta facing resistance over its call to share them among member states.
Malta’s Justice Minister, Tonio Borg, says hundreds are dying because the tiny island cannot cope with the influx.
“It is fair that those immigrants are distributed on a rotation basis through the 27, and temporarily should go to the nearest country until a destination country is designated.”
Last month, 27 shipwrecked Africans spent three days clinging to tuna nets in the Mediterranean while Malta and Libya argued over who should rescue them.
Diplomats say a deal is unlikely, given that EU countries have so far refused to share out refugees and migrants.
Although the EU has set-up and EU-wide agency, known as Frontex, to patrol its borders, this is not intended to run rescue operations.
Ministers have, however, agreed a deal to establish a pool of 500 on-call border guards for emergency operations.