Migrant Crisis Mounting European Union

MOAS rescues 105 migrants from rubber dinghy Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi/MOAS

MOAS rescues 105 migrants from rubber dinghy Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi/MOAS

The tragic drowning of dozens of migrants from Africa and the Middle East to Europe through the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean Sea have brought into sharp focus the issue of migrants and who exactly should be responsible for their welfare.

Italy is the doorway for migrants into the EU, but few remain there for more than just a few days. Italy’s unemployment rate is hovering at around 13 percent, so savvy migrants prefer to head to the wealthier northern states which are known for their liberal welfare policies and that already have well-entrenched communities of migrants established.

Last year the total number of migrants that applied for asylum in Europe was about 435,000. Of the 28-state European Union, Sweden and Germany received almost half of those applications.

“The distribution is very uneven,” said Mikael Ribbenvik, the deputy director of the Swedish Migration Agency.

Italy has borne the brunt of the rescue operations in the Mediterranean when the boats carrying the migrants sprout leaks, are overloaded with people and begin to sink, or crash into rocks due to lack of skilled sailors at the helm. The numbers of drowned migrants is alarming already, and those numbers seem to be only getting larger. The country can barely afford these rescue operations, so it’s no wonder they aren’t making a fuss about fingerprinting the migrants that do make it to their shores safely.

“If all of them had sought asylum Italy would have had 170,000 applications last year. That’s just as unreasonable as Sweden taking such a big proportion,” Ribbenvik added.

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