A shipwreck off Lampedusa is believed to have claimed the lives of some 700 migrants on Saturday. The case is similar to last week’s tragedy where some 350 migrants are thought to have lost their lives. Since the start of the year, at least 900 other migrants are thought to have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
The president of the European Commission, the President of the European Council and EU member countries called for urgent action. Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Maltese Prime minister Muscat jointly called on Sunday for an exceptional EU Summit.
The issue of illegal migration was discussed last week at the Informal meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the EU and the Southern Mediterranean countries held in Barcelona on April 13 at the invitation of Spain, Latvia and EU institutions to discuss the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Frontex data shows that migration across the Mediterranean in 2014 peaked to a level more than twice as high as its previous peak in 2011. 170,760 migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2014, compared with 64,300 in 2011, 15,900 in 2012, and 40,000 in 2013.