Italy has appealed for EU help handling the influx of African migrants onto its shores, and the EU has agreed to step up.
EU Migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos said the EU was “ready to increase our support to Italy, including substantial financial support if needed.”
“All member states now need to deliver and show solidarity towards Italy,” he said.
Half a million migrants have entered Italy since 2014. A record 181,000 came in 2016 and 2017 is looking even worse. Already the number is 15 percent higher than this time last year.
Italy had threatened to close its borders if it didn’t receive EU aid, and the EU realized it would face a large humanitarian crisis if that happened.
Migrants would keep crossing the Mediterranean but would have nowhere to land.
More than 2,100 migrants have died while crossing so far this year, and no one wants to see that number increase.
“We all have, I would say, a humanitarian obligation to save lives,” said Avramopoulos. “This should be our priority.
“Of course we cannot leave a handful of European Union countries on their own to deal with this.”
The migrant crisis is a test of EU solidarity, as many nations are affected, but all in different ways.
The wealthier nations tend to be destinations points, and get migrants who have been in the EU for several months.
These states have to house, feed, and assimilate migrants who are in tough, but not dire, situations.
Border or coastal states have to deal with the entry of migrants who need immediate assistance with things like food, shelter, and medical care.
States en route from entry points to destination states have to deal with transient migrants who might need some assistance but don’t plan to stay.