Austria calls on Europe to close Mediterranean route to asylum seekers

20 Apr

Austria has called for immediate international action to close the Mediterranean route to asylum-seekers trying to reach Europe.

Closing off the crossing is “the only way to end the senseless and tragic dying in the Mediterranean”, Wolfgang Sobotka, the Austrian interior minister said.

The call comes after almost 9,000 migrants were rescued from drowning over Easter after they attempted to cross the Mediterranean in ill-equipped and overcrowded boats.

“A rescue in the open sea cannot be a ticket to Europe, because it gives organised traffickers every argument to convince people to flee for economic reasons,” Mr Sobotka said.

Austria led the successful international effort to close the Balkan route to asylum-seekers last year.

Coordinated moves by countries along the route to close their borders effectively sealed it off to migrants, stemming the slow into Europe.

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