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Latest migrant tragedy puts European response under the spotlight

(Vatican Radio) The latest tragedy involving migrants off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa highlights yet again the perils they face in their bid for a better life in Europe. Naval and coast guard vessels recovered 14 bodies and rescued around 200 people after a migrant boat sank on Monday in the sea between Libya and the southern island.

This incident comes after dozens were drowned in a similar tragedy last week.

With less than two weeks to go before European parliamentary elections, the issue of immigration has become a hot political topic, with Italian politicians repeating longstanding calls for other countries in Europe to do more to help.

Speaking to Lydia O’Kane the Director of the European Agency for Fundemental Rights, Morten Kjaerum says there is still a way to go to formulate a joint European response on issue of migration.

“The Commission has worked very hard over for a number of years to increase or strengthen the European response and we have the Mediterranean task force which was established by the Commission after the Lampedusa tragedy in September and the next step is to implement both the legislation but also the actions that came out of the Lampedusa taskforce but there is still a way to formulate a joint European response and I would rather say a joint European vision and understanding of how do we see migration for Europe in the future and without such a broader vision it may be difficult to find solutions to the more specific problems that we are facing”.

Mr Kjaerum also notes that the criminalization of those who try and assist migrant at sea is a major barrier to protecting life and needs to be addressed. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with the Director of the European Agency for Fundemental Rights, Morten Kjaerum RealAudioMP3