Mediterranean mayors call on EU for help to deal with influx of migrants

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Mediterranean mayors call on EU for help to deal with influx of migrants

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Italy has long called for more help to deal with illegal migration. But other Mediterranean countries are also becoming increasingly vocal over the issue.

Town mayors have travelled to Brussels to push for more support from the European Union.

Eleftherios Papakalodoukas, the mayor of Simi, in Greece, explained that conditions for housing migrants are poor.

“It’s the police station that temporarily keeps them. There is only one toilet there for these 100, 150 immigrants. There is no health care, as there is only one doctor and that’s not enough,” he told euronews.

The scale of migration into Europe has been stoked by a record number of people fleeing conflicts in Libya and Syria.

According to Kamil Sake, the mayor of Edremit, in Turkey, migrants are remaining in his town and need support.

“Before, people moved on. But now 100 to 150 immigrants have settled in Edremit and they really need help,” he said.

The town mayors who presented evidence in Brussels hope the EU will listen to their concerns and do more to tackle this kind of migration – the true scale of which is difficult to establish.

“No one knows how many people have left. If there are eyes, cameras, people at sea watching, close to the points of departure, it is possible to see the migrants and intervene,” explained Italian Navy Admiral Filippo Maria Foffi.

Italy has seen over 100,000 migrants arrive by sea this year.

Next month, the EU will launch a new mission – Operation Triton – to help with the influx.

It will reinforce Italy’s own rescue operation ‘Mare Nostrum’ which was launched after 366 people drowned close to the Italian island of Lampedusa a year ago.