A poster bearing the words “Europe’s shame” was hanging in the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels on Wednesday as a European summit got underway.
Due to police restrictions, protesters were not allowed stand beside their banners.
Meanwhile, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz hosted the Mayor of Lampedusa and the President of Sicily to discuss the EU’s migration policy.
Earlier this week in Strasbourg, a European Parliament resolution said the drownings on Europe’s shores should mark a turning point for the EU and that members states had a legal obligation to do their bit.
For his part, Martin Schulz said the ball was in the court of the member states: “The European Parliament has a clear line, but the opinions between the 28 member states are very different on temporary protection, on legal immigration and on political asylum.”
The Mayor of Lampedusa Maria Nicolini said the whole idea of Europe was drowning with the deaths in the Mediterranean. “Now that you have all seen the boats, she said, “something has to change so please help us and do not disappoint us.”
While the 28 European heads of state discussed how the EU’s migration policy should be reformed, 127 migrants were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard seven miles from Lampedusa on Thursday, among them 63 women and 19 children.