Italy’s response: ‘Not even enough space in .. cemeteries’
Italy’s proximity to the North African coast puts it on the front line of tackling the continent’s migration crisis.
“We’re swamped,” Sandro Gozi, the Italian minister for European affairs, told French daily Le Monde. “There’s not even enough space in Sicily’s cemeteries to bury the dead.”
An Italian search-and-rescue program, Mare Nostrum, was credited with rescuing more than 160,000 migrants in the space of a year. But it ended in October because of budget constraints and criticism from the European Union that the program itself was encouraging migrants to head across the Mediterranean.
The European Union’s border control agency, Frontex, started its own mission in November, known as Triton, with a budget of less than a third of that of Mare Nostrum. Frontex has no vessels or surveillance equipment of its own, so has to rely on European member states to lend it ships.