Irregular Migration via the Central Mediterranean From Emergency Responses to Systemic Solutions
Between 2011 and 2016, some 630,000 irregular migrants and Refugees reached Italy via the Central Mediterranean. Some were successfully smuggled across, while others were rescued at sea and disembarked in Italy. More than 13,000 lost their lives attempting the crossing, and many more died on their journey through the Sahara.In the face of such human tragedy, new maritime surveillance operations were launched in the Central Mediterranean towards the end of 2013 and successively scaled up. Yet, despite the intensified efforts, 2016 was both the deadliest year yet and the one that saw the largest number of irregular migrants disembark in Italy. With the closing of the Western Balkan route and the conclusion of the EU-Turkey agreement, the Central Mediterranean now acts as the main gate of entry for irregular migrants arriving in the EU by sea. Against this backdrop, there is a clear need to strengthen concerted action at EU level to better control Europe’s Southern sea borders, while offering improved humanitarian assistance and Protection to those in need.