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EU to Triple Funding for Sea Patrols In Hopes To Stem Migration Crisis

Friday, 24 April 2015

The European Union agreed to triple funding for patrols in the Mediterranean and send ships from its member states’ navies to stem the soaring deaths of migrants trying to reach Europe’s shores from Africa.

The funding for Triton, the EU border operation that patrols the sea will amount to $9.7 million monthly and a refugee resettlement program is in the works and expected to offer housing to 5,000 asylum seekers.

Leaders from the EU’s 28 nations convened in Brussels on Thursday to find solutions to the migration crisis, days after hundreds of people drowned in one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks on the Mediterranean stirring public outcry and pushing the leaders to reinstate funding for patrols in the Mediterranean that had been cut last year.

The governments also decided to draw up plans to combat the smuggling rings that have made a lucrative trade of bringing people to Europe. The U.K. offered to send a warship to patrol between Sicily and the Libyan coast, while Germany, France, Ireland and other nations have offered ships as well.

“We have to restrict the criminal gangs, seize assets, hamper their activities,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

The number of migrants who have died in the Mediterranean has soared this year: An estimated 1,750 have perished through April 21, compared with only 56 during the same period last year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

A spokesman for the IOM, Joel Millman said the main reason appears to be that smugglers are becoming more reckless, loading each boat, beyond capacity with migrants.

With Press

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