Migrants are your problem, Europe tells Italy

Migrants are your problem, Europe tells Italy

Migrants are your problem, Europe tells Italy

The EU has not responded to the report.

After the coastguard intercepts boats bound for Europe, refugees are reportedly "returned to Libya where they are routinely detained and tortured and where no asylum law or system exists".

The number of migrants crossing into Spain by sea from North Africa has doubled in 2017 from a year ago, outpacing the Libya-Italy route as the fastest growing entry point to Europe.

Minniti said the issue was not formally on the agenda in Tallinn, and would be discussed next week in a meeting hosted by European Union border agency Frontex and called to review the mandate of its Mediterranean naval mission Triton.

The code of conduct is being proposed after NGOs have been accused by Italian prosecutors of colluding with Libyan smugglers, crossing into Libyan waters to rescue migrants and obstructing investigations against traffickers. Italy is now the major gate for migrants seeking assistance in Europe.

The Mediterranean Sea is still one of the most unsafe places for refugees from Africa and the Middle East who try to reach Europe.

"European states have progressively turned their backs on a search and rescue strategy that was reducing mortality at sea in favour of one that has seen thousands drown and left desperate men, women and children trapped in Libya, exposed to horrific abuses", he said.

While the Italian sea route remains the most popular overall with 59,000 migrants between January and May, up 32 percent from past year, the Spanish route further west has gathered steam with 6,800 migrants using it in the same period, a 75 percent increase from 2016. "Instead it is focusing on strengthening the abilities of the Libyan coastguard to better prevent departures and perform interceptions".

"If the second half of this year continues as the first and urgent action is not taken, 2017 looks set to become the deadliest year for the deadliest migration route in the world", Mr Dalhuisen said. "The E.U. must rethink its cooperation with Libya's woefully dysfunctional coastguard and deploy more vessels where they are desperately needed".

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