German Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel asserted the European Union plan to flux mass immigration from the "central Mediterranean route" of leading to "catastrophic conditions."
He claimed that keeping immigrants in the war-torn Libyan state is a mistake. Italy is leading efforts to flux the almost uncontrollable inflow of immigrants, most coming from sub-Saharan Africa.
An informal meeting of EU heads of state took place in Malta in early February to discuss and apply "measures to stem the flow of irregular migrants from Libya to Italy."
Since then, Italy has led the charge against human trafficking in the region in an attempt to stop unseaworthy vessels from crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The death rate for those crossing, according to the International Organization for Migration, is one in 39 with some 1,200 already lost at sea this year. Furthermore, the Italian Interior Ministry has announced that arrivals of immigrants to the country increased by 35 percent compared to the same period in the previous year.
The Italian Coast Guard has implemented a basis for cooperation with Libya's Government of National Accord and plans further cooperation, including training specialists, shipping equipment and monetary support to fight human traffickers, however, there are concerns that this aid could be misplaced in the chaos of the Libyan civil war, which has been raging for some six years since the fall of strongman Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Spanish authorities and several non-governmental organizations have also been participating in the rescue of immigrants in the Mediterranean. Both the United Nations and NGOs continue to claim ongoing violations of immigrants' human rights, citing their own aid workers.
Last month, Pope Francis sparked outrage in the Jewish community when he compared reception centers to World War II concentration camps. He refused to back down from his comments even after criticism saying that innocent inmates in concentration camps were executed and used as slave labor, none of which is occurring in European reception centers for refugees.
Even though the European Union has at least, to a certain extent, come together regarding the immigration crisis, agreeing that the inflow must be stopped for myriads of reasons, dissident voices, such as that of Vice-Chancellor Gabriel and other Eurocrats, continue to endorse an open gate policy, despite the fast-rising resentment for immigrants among the European populace, characterized by the findings of several studies as well as the rise of anti-immigration, anti-globalist and nationalist parties all across the continent.
The singular reason why the floodgates of the Aegean Sea closed in 2016 was the EU-Turkey deal, which has the EU pay vast sums of money to Turkey to contain Syrian and other refugees, as well as immigrants in refugee camps in the Turkish Republic. Italy it attempting to achieve a similar goal with Libya; however, despite its efforts more than 37,000 have already crossed the sea to Italy.
Italian authorities and NGOs have clashed on several occasions, with the former accusing the latter of aiding people smugglers.
European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos also urged China to stop exporting dangerous rubber dinghies used for crossing, saying "I requested support and cooperation from Chinese authorities to track down this business and dismantle it because what they produce does not serve the common good of the country."
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