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Will money solve EU migrant issue?

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 02:14

Four days after up to 900 desperate people drowned trying to reach Europe from Libya, EU leaders agree to triple a naval search mission in the Mediterranean, restoring its funding to last year's level. Critics say it's not enough. Hayley Platt reports.

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They've got enough of their own problems at the moment. Still, tens of hundreds of Greeks and migrants protested in Athens over the recent migrant tragedy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) 'MOVEMENT AGAINST RACISM' ACTIVIST, PETROS CONSTANTINOU, SAYING: "No more deaths of refugees in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean. They should open the borders and give hospitality to the refugees and asylum." (UPSOUND) ''Let us stand for a minutes silence for the victims!'' In Brussels EU leaders held crisis talks. They agreed to triple the funding for search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean after up to 900 people drowned trying to reach Europe from Libya. More ships, planes and staff will be available in future. The boost in funding to some €120m brings spending back up to about the level of Italy's search-and-rescue operation that was cancelled last year. Critics called it a face-saving operation that did not go far enough. And divisions remain over issues ranging from dealing with people smugglers and African migrant camps - to how to redistribute asylum-seekers around 28 nations - many where anti-immigrant parties are on the rise. Last year 170,000 migrants crossed into Italy. This year it's expecting as many as 200,000. Italy's foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, says it's a burden that should be shared. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ITALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, PAOLO GENTILONI, SAYING: "it is not an Italian or Greek or Malta problem - it is a European problem." Germany's vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel agrees. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "I think more than a dozen EU countries refuse to take in any refugees. That is unacceptable." UK prime minister David Cameron offered Britain's help but with conditions. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, DAVID CAMERON, SAYING: "That must include that people that we pick up and people we deal with are taken to the nearest safe country, most likely Italy, and don't have immediate recourse to claim asylum in the U.K. When these tragedies happen, Britain is always there and this time will be no exception." EU leaders are also considering using military action against traffickers to destroy their vessels before they're put to sea. And streamlining visa and asylum processing, a measure that could return some asylum seekers back to the countries they're trying to escape.

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Will money solve EU migrant issue?

Friday, April 24, 2015 - 02:14