Hundreds saved near island by Italian coast guard
Published: Monday, October 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 28, 2013 22:10
Nearly 700 people were rescued by the Italian coast guard during five separate operations around the island of Lampedusa, authorities said Friday.
News of the rescue attempts came as leaders of the European Union were meeting for a summit, in which migration was to be a high priority topic. The deaths of over 300 African migrants off the coast of Lampedusa on Oct. 3 led to calls for European Union lawmakers to look over migration laws.
European Union leaders expressed their sympathies over the recent deaths and vowed to address the issue, despite the meeting being overshadowed by accusations that the United States has been spying on European allies.
The EU will set up a new border surveillance system and Mediterranean task force to increase its efforts. It will also review its asylum immigration policies next summer.
EU leaders said they will work with migrants’ home countries and international organizations to attempt to address the causes of these attempted migrations. They also called for “the fight against trafficking and smuggling of human being to be stepped up” in Europe and countries the migrants either come from or pass through.