EU Wakes Up to a Crisis on it’s Shores

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from Bloomberg Businessweek,

The loss of life as refugees cross the Mediterranean highlights Libya’s decine as a functioning state. “Now we have a terrorist hub much closer to Europe, much closer than Syria”, says Mattia Toaldo, a Libya expert at the EU Council on Foreign Relations.

United Nations officials criticized the European Union’s response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea for emphasizing border protection without a comprehensive plan to resettle refugees.

EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday pledged to send naval patrols to disrupt trafficking networks and destroy vessels before they’re used by traffickers. They also tripled their annual funding for the bloc’s Mediterranean border patrol and assistance measures to 120 million euros ($130 million).

“Destroying boats is only a very short-sighted solution” to combating smugglers who “continue to skillfully adapt, as long as there is a market to exploit,” Francois Crépeau and Maria Grazia, UN experts on migrants’ rights and human trafficking, said in a statement Friday. The emergency funding increase may not be enough if the number of migrants and asylum seekers arriving by boat continue to rise, they said.

Last weekend’s deadly sinking of a boat carrying as many as 900 migrants off the coast of Libya has sparked a debate in Europe about the way the EU handles refugees and their trafficking. More people are risking their lives to flee to Europe by boat, as violence in their home nations in Africa and the Middle East intensifies.

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