The Irish Red Cross has expressed concern over the EU’s proposed reaction to the tragedy of coffin ships on the Mediterranean.
EU leaders last night met for the second time this week to formulate a response to the humanitarian disaster that has been unfolding for several year on the Mediterranean.
Head of International at the Irish Red Cross John Roche said the plan unfolding is focussed principally on border security rather than humanitarian support.
“Every time a boat sinks, it becomes a coffin ship and a part of humanity drowns because these tragedies have been happening for several years. It is not as if EU authorities have been caught unaware.
“The crises in Syria and Libya have exacerbated matters and the situation is almost certain to get worse before it gets better.
“Additional funding announced last night only restores spending to previous levels. Yet there are credible predictions that 30 times more people may attempt these dangerous crossings compared to last year.”
Part of the EU plan announced yesterday includes an increase in the number of migrants to be accepted by EU countries on a voluntary basis. However, Mr Roche said the numbers involved are grossly inadequate.
“It is deeply saddening to see some states are not willing to at least the share the burden of fellow member states in respect of refugees. All the more so, considering the numbers committed to are puny. The EU needs to act in solidarity and aim to resettle at least 20,000 refugees every year for the next five years,” Mr Roche added.
He also said the death of 14 migrants in Macedonia late last night showed that efforts to tackle the root cause of migration needed to be hugely improved.
“People in desperate situations will take desperate measures. These 14 people are among those who migrate huge distances over land for exactly the same reasons and often from the same locations as those who attempt to cross the Mediterranean,” Mr Roche said.