In a daring July 21 rescue operation, the Italian Coast Guard rescued 414 migrants lost at sea, including four newborn babies. The rescues occurred between 25 and 35 miles from the Libyan coast, and the migrants were spread across four boats.
The Italian ships were activated as a part of Operation Triton, the European Union’s border security and safety operation in the Mediterranean Sea.
As of last month, over 68,000 migrants had landed in Italy, according to the International Organization for Migration.
The current levels of migration to Europe are unprecedented.
“So many desperate people are trying to cross the Mediterranean, fleeing conflict and war. The EU and its Member States need to respond and take action to save lives,” EU commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said when announcing Operation Triton.
“With the launch of the Triton operation, tailored to the needs and requests defined by the Italian authorities, the EU can show concrete solidarity to Italy, by reinforcing its border surveillance and supporting its humanitarian efforts,” she added.
Elsewhere in Europe, citizens are experiencing the effects of the worsening migrant crisis.
Today, Eurotunnel, the company that runs the tunnel connecting Britain and France under the English Channel, asked the British and French governments to contribute ten million euros to fund security, as the company spent about 13 million in the first six months of this year.
This week, European leaders are meeting to discuss a solution to the crisis surrounding migrant placement.
Italy and Greece have received many migrants, and want to send them throughout the EU. Spain and Poland, on the other hand, are wary of accepting any more migrants into their borders.
Poland, for instance, has proposed accepting only 1,000 immigrants—a number far lower than what EU officials would like.
Spain, too, has been reluctant to work with Europe on this issue.
“We are very critical of the relocation plan because it will create a pull factor,” Spain’s home affairs minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, said.
Essentially, Spain announced that they would only accept a third of the migrants the EU wanted them to take.
Suffice it to say, EU officials were not happy with the Spanish proposal.
“I want to be frank with you. I am disappointed that this did not happen today but it was a very important step forward,” EU home affairs commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said in a press conference.