The EU has welcomed a decision by Italy to take in more than 100 stranded migrants but has said more solidarity is needed between members.
It comes after a row erupted between Malta and Italy over the fate of the 140 migrants. They had spent four days at sea onboard a Turkish vessel after being found drifting in Maltese waters last Thursday. However, Malta refused to take them in, arguing the law requires them to be disembarked in the nearest port – in this case, the Italian island of Lampedusa. Finally, the Italian government, under pressure from the EU, agreed to welcome them this morning, but added that the action “must not be understood as a precedent”. “The problem remains because what we need is a better and more efficient cooperation among EU member states,” said EU Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot. Every year, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants from nearby north Africa reach Italian shores in search of a better life. Many die in the process. Last year, 37,000 landed on Italian shores – a 75 percent increase since 2007.