Nearly 6,000 migrants rescued this weekend, Italy feels overstretchedComments
The wave of migrants desperate to reach Europe is swelling each day.
According to the Royal Navy, up to half a million people are currently waiting along the Libyan coast to try to cross the Mediterranean.
This weekend alone, European ships rescued nearly 6,000 men, women and children drifting at sea.
In Italy, where most migrants land, three northern regions warned on Sunday that they would not take in any more migrants.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called on more solidarity within Italy and the EU.
“We did not cause this problem but we will try to solve it, if we can, along with those who are currently resorting to demagogy rather than common sense,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a G7 summit of the world’s richest countries in Germany.
Italy has urged its neighbours to take in quotas of migrants, but countries like France and Britain oppose that. However, the EU has recently agreed to increase its search and rescue effort at sea.
“Britain is a country that doesn’t walk on by – we’re a country with a conscience and that’s right. But we also need to do more to stop people leaving their countries in the first place,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Fleeing war, poverty and dictatorships, nearly 50,000 migrants have landed in Italy so far this year – over ten percent more than a year ago.
On Monday, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano will meet European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos to discuss the issue.