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E.U. leaders meet to stem migrant flow from Libya

Feb 03, 2017, 6:58 AM EST
About 4,500 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Italy in 2016.
(Source: National Museum of the U.S. Navy/flickr)

The European Union leaders are meeting in Malta on Friday to chalk out a plan to curb the influx of African migrants to Europe. The bloc is expected to discuss two key proposals related to strengthening the Libyan coastguard with better training and equipment and agreeing on tough measures against people smugglers in the country.

The E.U., which has its troops deployed in the international waters off Libya, plans to contribute an additional $215m in 2017 to help reduce the flow, reports the BBC. Hundreds of thousands of migrants brave perilous sea journey to cross to Europe via Libya every year, and many of them drown in the Mediterranean.

On Thursday, Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said that the E.U.’s financial assistance in tackling the migrant crisis has been “very humble,” notes Business Insider. People smugglers operate with impunity owing to instability caused by insurgents in northern Libya. According to an estimate, some 4,500 migrants lost lives in the Mediterranean in 2016 while 180,000 migrants managed to reach Italy via this route.