Europe fi­nally acts

The Africa Report - - BRIEFING -

Af­ter a par­tic­u­larly cruel April, in which an es­ti­mated 1,700 peo­ple per­ished try­ing to cross the Mediter­ranean, the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion un­veiled its migration strat­egy pro­posal on 13 May. The plan takes an im­me­di­ate and long-term view, in­clud­ing step­ping up search and res­cue op­er­a­tions, tar­get­ing crim­i­nal smug­gling net­works and re­lo­cat­ing ar­rivals to other EU mem­ber states based on the size of their economies. Un­der the terms of the plan, the EU will ac­cept around 20,000 refugees dur­ing the course of the next two years and re­set­tle them through­out Europe, although Bri­tain, Ire­land and Den­mark can opt out of the pro­gramme. The an­nounce­ment was greeted with re­lief by south­ern Euro­pean coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly Italy, which have com­plained that the bur­den of man­ag­ing the in­flux of mi­grants, which num­bered some 10,000 in April alone, is not be­ing evenly spread. Mean­while, African lead­ers are clam­our­ing for a so­lu­tion to the in­sta­bil­ity in Libya, which used to be a des­ti­na­tion for sub-sa­ha­ran mi­grants but is now a launch­ing pad for smug­glers’ boats.

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