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EU leaders pledge rescue for migrants, but no fix for problem

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 01:38

An emergency summit among European Union leaders to prevent migrant deaths in the Mediterranean will do little beyond laying out options, as EU states remain divided over solutions. Mana Rabiee reports.

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The emergency session of European Union leaders in Brussels on Thursday was to reverse an earlier cut-back of migrant boat rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Faced with record numbers of migrant deaths at sea, the leaders scrambled to review their funding of search and rescue missions... like the one Italy used to operate, which saved some 100,000 migrant lives last year, but was shut down because other EU countries refused to pay for it. But Thursday's meeting will do little else beyond laying out options and there is no one magic 'fix'. Instead, EU leaders will likely propose a 13-point plan to deal with the hundreds of thousands trying to reach Europe's shores as they flee war and poverty. Only the first point -- at least doubling the money and equipment to boost Europe's naval presence at sea -- is likely to translate into action soon. Other options -- like setting up reception centers abroad or redistributing refugees around Europe -- those still face significant obstacles from member states, in a bloc where anti-immigrant political parties are on the rise. A moment of silence during the meetings .... but even before the final proposals were released, Amnesty International called them "woefully inadequate and shameful". And even as they gathered in Brussels, Italy's coast guard picked up nearly 85 migrant men from a sinking rubber boat off the Libyan coast...their port of destination not immediately clear.

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EU leaders pledge rescue for migrants, but no fix for problem

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 01:38