EU wants major Mediterranean rescue mission after Lampedusa
LUXEMBOURG (AFP) - The EU's executive will press the 28-nation bloc Tuesday to sharply beef up resources enabling sea patrols across the Mediterranean to help prevent new migrant tragedies such as the Lampedusa shipwreck.
The EU's Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said as she went into talks with the bloc's home affairs ministers that she would propose "a big Frontex operation right across the Mediterranean from Cyprus to Spain for a big save and rescue operation." Frontex is the agency set up by the European Union in 2004 to police the bloc's borders against illegal migration.
But the Warsaw-based agency, which coordinates and develops border management and joint operations, has seen its budget fall over the past three years and relies on donations from member states for ships, helicopters and other equipment.
The shipwreck off Lampedusa last week in which more than 300 African asylum-seekers are feared dead is expected to dominate Tuesday's talks between the ministers.