French Immigration Minister Eric Besson is urging EU member states to agree a “plan of action” to deter illegal migrants.
His call follows the deaths of eight people who drowned when a small boat carrying dozens of people from sub-Saharan Africa sank off the coast of Morocco at the weekend. Addressing a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels, Besson said Frontex, the EU agency responsible for policing the maritime borders of the bloc, needs “strengthening”. He has just returned from a trip to Greece where he met the crew of the Frontex vessel which patrols the Mediterranean. Besson is calling for a “new operational doctrine” regarding interception of migrants attempting to reach Europe by boat. The eastern Aegean Sea has become a major route for illegal immigrants embarking from the Turkish coast on dangerous voyages in inadequate vessels provided by ruthless people traffickers.