Prospect: 20,000 lives lost in Mediterranean waters – something must be done

The EU summit that begins today is supposed to focus on the digital economy and monetary union—but there’s a good chance it will be overshadowed by concerns about immigration.

Almost 20,000 people have died attempting to cross into Europe via the southern Mediterranean over the past 20 years. Earlier this month, after yet another boat carrying undocumented migrants went down, the Maltese Prime Minister claimed that we are turning the sea into a “cemetery.” The Italian Prime Minister described it as a “tomb.”

Twenty thousand is an unbelievable figure, yet, until recently, not many people have been aware of it because it rarely makes the news outside of the areas directly affected—Cyprus, Greece, Italy and my own country, Malta; Europe’s “frontier” nations and the small islands like Malta, Sicily and Lampedusa that mark the entrance to Europe for those travelling from Africa and the Middle East. Here, residents receive regular reports of boats capsizing or running into trouble, the occupants being pulled from the sea in lengthy rescue operations…

… To continue reading click here to visit the Prospect website. Originally published 24 October 2013.

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