Malta is now allowing the transfer of dozens of migrants from two rescue ships that have been stranded in the Mediterranean for weeks. The move comes after eight European Union countries agreed to each take in a small number of migrants. CGTN’s Jack Parrock reports from Brussels.
Nineteen days stranded at Europe’s doorstep. It’s been one of the longest periods of time that migrants have been in limbo in the Mediterranean, amid reports that the conditions on board two rescue ships were described as dire.
Even the EU’s Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said the past few weeks have not been Europe’s “finest hour.”
In total, 49 people have been stranded at sea on the Sea Eye and Sea Watch-3 – rescue vessels which are run by humanitarian groups. They save people from smugglers’ boats and refuse to return them to North African countries like Libya.
EU countries like Italy and Malta have refused to let the ships dock. Many of them have been stranded for weeks at a time over the past year.
In Brussels, they’ve been campaigning hard – bombarding EU capitals with phone calls – trying to get them to take in the migrants so that Malta would let them dock. Eight now have, including Germany and Italy.
It doesn’t mean the migrants will be allowed to stay. But it does mean they’ll be allowed to apply for asylum in the country they are sent to.