- Title: BELGIUM: EU leaders to discuss united response to Lampedusa tragedy at summit
- Date: 25th October 2013
- Summary: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (OCTOBER 25, 2013) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL BUILDING BANNER FOR LITHUANIAN PRESIDENCY OF THE EUROPEAN UNION BEHIND FLAGS
- Embargoed: 9th November 2013 12:00
- Location: Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA8QTIJXH4M5M5ZRNJFWR7QZ4JT
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- Story Text: EU leaders arrived on Friday (October 25) for a second day of talks at the European Council in Brussels, with an aim to agree on a united response to the Lampedusa tragedy.
The death of hundreds of African migrants in a shipwreck off Sicily led to anguished calls for Europe-wide action to tackle mass migration, but divisions among EU states mean the bloc's response is likely to fall short of expectations.
Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said work needed to be done with regards to Europe's strategy on migration.
The EU set up a specialised agency, Frontex, in 2004 to coordinate EU border management but its role is limited. Frontex currently coordinates patrols off the Italian coast, using boats, planes and helicopters lent by EU member states.
"I think we have pretty good migration policy but of course we have to work more in order to avoid a similar situation what we see in Lampedusa, especially illegal human trafficking is the most severe problem and this is something which the EU should work together with the third countries, in order to avoid this kind of things happening," he said.
States on Europe's southern flanks that are bearing the brunt of mass migration - most of those who died off Lampedusa were Eritreans who left from Libya - want other EU countries to share the burden, financially and with resettling migrants.
The front-line countries, including Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Spain and Italy, are the hardest hit by Europe's financial crisis, leaving them with little muscle to combat the problem.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said the problem concerned the whole of Europe.
"It's not only a south European problem, it's a European problem. It needs to be not in collision with our social securities which is also important because today Europe is not ready to accept as many refugees as probably it can flow in. And after revolutions in Maghreb and in North Africa of course a lot of situation deteriorated concerning the possible flows of immigrants," Grybauskaite said as she arrived for the meeting.
Day one of the summit, originally called to tackle a range of social and economic issues, was overshadowed by debate on how to respond to the alleged espionage by Washington against two of its closest European Union allies.
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