News / Europe

Italy, Malta Say EU Must Press Libya to Stop Boat Migration

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta (L) and Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat take part in a news conference at Muscat's office at the Auberge de Castille in Valletta, Malta, Nov. 11, 2013.
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta (L) and Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat take part in a news conference at Muscat's office at the Auberge de Castille in Valletta, Malta, Nov. 11, 2013.
Reuters
Italy on Monday called on the European Union to press Libya to stem the gangs smuggling migrants from Africa on overcrowded boats and prevent shipwrecks like the one that killed hundreds last month.
    
More than 360 people drowned off the coast of Sicily on Oct. 3. The mostly Eritrean migrants had sailed from Libya, where smugglers mistreated them and made them pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to be carried to Europe.
    
"There needs to be an EU initiative with Libya to try to manage differently patrols and border controls," Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta said after meeting Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in Valletta.
    
Letta's comments come three days after Sicilian investigators arrested a man for kidnapping, extortion and rape of some of the Eritreans who survived last month's shipwreck.
    
The horror stories told to Italian prosecutors by the migrants confirmed the worst fears of humanitarian groups about conditions in increasingly unstable Libya.
    
Two years after the NATO-backed overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, rival militias continue to battle for power and the prime minister was briefly taken hostage last month.
    
"We must send a strong message that we are dealing with human beings. This also means tackling criminal networks of people-smugglers," Muscat said.
    
Italy, Malta and Greece have borne much of the brunt of the EU's two-decade-long immigration crisis, and all have called for more EU-wide support.
    
In the absence of a coordinated EU response, Italy has deployed naval vessels, helicopters and unmanned drones to try to prevent further tragedies at sea. Letta said the mission had saved hundreds of lives in the past month and put pressure on smugglers, who he called "merchants of death".
    
Malta is preparing to send a military vessel to Libya to help patrol the coast and prevent boats carrying migrants from departing, Muscat said.
    
Letta said the EU's entire approach to the Mediterranean over the past two decades had been wrong, and that Italy would push for an overhaul in the 28-country bloc's policies in the region when it holds the rotating presidency next year.
    
"We need a new European policy toward Africa and the Middle East," Letta said.
    
Separately, the two leaders said Italy and Malta would probably reach an agreement on offshore oil and gas exploration early next year.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs