A task force has been set up to tackle Europe’s migration crisis.
The issue has been bought into sharp focus by two boat disasters, including one off the island of Lampedusa, which claimed 365 lives.
Leaders discussed the issue at the EU summit on Friday but no concrete solutions were found for sharing Europe’s migration burden among member states.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted it was impossible to react to tragedies like Lampedusa with immediate solutions, but that a task force had been set up among EU interior ministers.
“We reacted at European level – the interior ministers have established a task force together. The aim is to think about, what short-term steps can be taken in the Mediterranean area.”
Thousands cross the Mediterranean Sea every year – often passing near Malta – in search of a new life in Europe.
Human Rights Watch estimates that 35,000 people have crossed from North Africa to Italy and Malta this year alone – many of them fleeing persecution or fighting in Somalia, Eritrea or Syria.