Monday, August 31, 2015 7:52 am
Luxembourg, which holds the rotating EU presidency, called interior ministers from all 28 member states to an extraordinary meeting on Sept. 14, saying: “The situation of migration phenomena outside and inside the European Union has recently taken unprecedented proportions.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier called on her EU neighbours to do more as Germany expects the number of asylum seekers it receives to quadruple to about 800,000 in 2015.
“If Europe has solidarity and we have also shown solidarity towards others, then we need to show solidarity now,” she told reporters in Berlin. “Everything must move quickly.”
Luxembourg said the meeting would focus on policies on sending some migrants home and measures to prevent human trafficking.
Seven people died when their boat sank off Libya’s coast on Sunday, the second such fatal accident at sea within days. The Italian coastguard said some 1,600 migrants had been rescued in the Mediterranean and brought to Italy over the weekend.
At least 2,500 migrants have died since January, most of them drowning in the Mediterranean after arduous journeys fleeing war, oppression or poverty in Syria and other parts of the Middle East and Africa or beyond.
The horrors faced by migrants were brought to the heart of the European mainland on Friday when 71 bodies, including those of a baby girl and three other children were found in an abandoned refrigeration truck in Austria.
The dead, believed to be refugees from Syria or possibly Afghanistan, had been packed into the truck with just 1 square metre (10 sq ft) of space per five people, police said on Sunday, as initial forensic tests indicated they had suffocated.