Brussels, February 12 -Premier Matteo Renzi said Thursday that the Mediterranean Sea risks becoming a cemetery if the international community does not act to end the chaos in Libya, with over 300 people feared to have been killed in migrant-boat wrecks south of Sicily this week.
“We have to resolve the problem of Libya if we want to stop the Mediterranean becoming a cemetery,” he said before a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.
The deaths have sparked controversy over the end of Italy’s Mare Nostrum search-and-rescue programme, which was replaced by the EU’s Triton operation last year. Mare Nostrum, launched after some 400 people died in migrant-boat disasters in October 2013, was better funded than Triton, but came under fire for allegedly encouraging human traffickers.
Critics said that this week’s disasters show that the end of Mare Nostrum was not a deterrent to the flows of refugees from North Africa, many of whom depart for Italy from Libya after fleeing conflicts zones.
Renzi said Wednesday that he would ask European leaders to do more to help Italy with the migrant emergency in the Mediterranean at Thursday’s summit…
News flash: Europe cannot ‘end the chaos in Libya.’ It is not that simple. See: Syria.
It is a bit late now to say we should not have become involved in Libya at all.