EU outlines plan to address Mediterranean migrant crisis

(Hina) - The European Union"s foreign and interior ministers on Monday endorsed a 10-point plan for immediate action to ease the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, including strengthening search and rescue operations after a weekend tragedy that killed up to 700 people off the Libyan coast who were trying to reach European coasts. The 10-point plan was outlined by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos. Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said that the ongoing crisis included two elements: people fleeing wars and armed conflicts, and trafficking in humans. EU Commissioner Avramopoulos was quoted as saying that the Commission will propose a pilot programme to share the resettlement of migrants across the 28-member bloc. Both Mogherini and Avramopoulos said that the implementation of the plan required joint efforts of European institutions and all 28 member-states. Minister Pusic said that Croatia would put 47 staffers at the disposal to Italy within Frontex operations. According to her, there is also a possibility of relocating migrants from Italy, Malta and Greece, which have so far received the highest number of those immigrants. At least 3,500 people, many of them fleeing poverty and fighting in Africa, died trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe in 2014, according to the United Nations.

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