EU pledges more measures to help Italy in migrant crisis

The EU on Tuesday pledged more measures and more money to help Italy face growing numbers of migrants on its shores, including a possible visa limit on Bangladesh.
Close to 94,000 people have crossed safely from Libya to Italy so far this year, prompting pleas from Rome for urgent help from its European Union partners.
More than 2,370 people have died attempting the perilous crossing, the UN refugee agency has said.
European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker promised an extra 100 million euros ($116 million) in funding, on top of nearly 800 million euros already pledged, in a letter to Paolo Gentiloni, Italy's prime minister.
He also pledged a Commission contact team to ensure keep communications open and ensure a "rapid operational response from the Commission services".
And in an effort to pressure Bangladesh to take back its migrants, Juncker threatened to limit visas to Europe for travellers from the south Asian nation.
"We will intensify our efforts to reach an effective arrangement with Bangladesh to speed up the readmission of migrants irregularly present in Italy," Juncker wrote.
This would include "if appropriate" a proposal to the EU's 28 governments to consider "the use of visa leverage," the letter said.
Juncker also pledged to step up the relocation of migrants to other member states by mobilising additional funding and deploying EU agency personnel.
The letter came the same day that rescuers in the Mediterranean came to the aid of a dinghy packed with migrants, discovering 13 bodies including pregnant women.
The news came as Italy's Interior Minister Marco Minniti was due to meet with NGOs to discuss a new "code of conduct", approved by the EU, to regulate the operations of privately run rescue boats.
Although Italy has repeatedly stressed that it will continue to save lives at sea, Rome has upped its requests for fellow European states to help shoulder the load -- particularly in terms of providing shelter to those rescued.
© 2017 AFP
EU pledges more measures to help Italy in migrant crisis EU pledges more measures to help Italy in migrant crisis Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 13:13:00 Rating: 5