EU Leaders to Discuss Response to Crisis in Mediterranean Sea at Emergency Summit

EU | April 23, 2015, Thursday // 09:06|  views

An immigrant living in Greece takes part in a protest against the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean, outside the European Union office in central Athens, Greece, 22 April 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES

EU heads of state or government meet in Brussels to discuss ways to alleviate migration pressures and prevent new Mediterranean migrant tragedies.

The summit follows the European Union (EU) Foreign and Home Affairs ministers’ meeting on Monday after which a 10-point plan was announced envisaging measures such as enhancing search and rescue operations.

The extraordinary meeting of the European Council on April 23, 2015 was organized after up to 900 migrants died last Sunday when their boat sank on its way to Europe from Libya.

EU leaders are expected to discuss immediate actions to address the situation.

The participants in the meeting are likely to agree to double the budget and the equipment used in the EU border patrol missions in the Mediterranean, according to sources close to the matter, as cited by Reuters.

Apart from increasing the budget, equipment, and staff of search and rescue operations, EU leaders also plan to step up the fight against traffickers, including through a joint military operation against them.

Boosting internal solidarity within the EU will also be on the agenda of Thursday’s summit, with EU leaders expected to increase emergency aid to Member States which are used as “entry points.”

Thursday’s summit is to start with a minute of silence in memory of the hundreds of people who died in Sunday’s disaster.At the same time, Amnesty International will hold a funeral march outside the European Council.

On April 23, migrants, NGOs and activists will line the streets of the European quarter, carrying three coffins.

The march will culminate in a gathering of hundreds of people outside the European Council.

Thursday’s funeral march will start at Place de la Libert? (Madou) and end at the Freedom of Expression zone outside the European External Action Service (Schuman), according to an announcement on the website of the NGO.

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Tags: EU leaders, EU Summit, Mediterranean Sea, death toll, human trafficking, migrant influx


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