Barroso 'Shocked' by Sight of Hundreds of Coffins in Lampedusa

World | October 9, 2013, Wednesday // 15:26|  views

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (C) arrives in Lampedusa, Italy, 09 October 2013. Photo EPA/BGNES

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he has been profoundly shocked as he visited the temporary mortuary holding the coffins of the victims in Lampedusa shipwreck tragedy.

Speaking at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, Barroso said he would never forget the sight of hundreds of coffins.

"It's something, I think, one cannot forget: coffins of babies, coffins of a mother and a child that was born at that moment," he said.

"This is something that profoundly shocked me."

Barroso said he also met survivors who retained hope, and it was now the duty of the European Union "to give reason for that hope".

Barroso pledged 30m euros of EU funds to help refugees in Italy.

He also announced a number of measures Brussles will undertake, including strengthening search and rescue efforts in the Mediterranean; dealing with the people smugglers; and working more closely with the countries from where the migrants are coming.

On their arrival in Lampedusa Barroso and Letta were welcomed by activists and locals, who shouted "shame", "disgrace" and "killers”.

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Tags: Italian, European Union, Lampedusa, boat, tragedy, Italy, refugees, enrico letta, Jose Manuel Barroso


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