Again and again people are dying while crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe. They are fleeing war, persecution and poverty. But the EU is closing its outer frontiers. Wíll Europe stop at nothing to protect its own prosperity?
The recent fatal shipwreck off Lampedusa shows the great hopes many people from poor countries pin on Europe. They risk their lives and those of their families to find refuge abroad - refuge from war, violence and hunger. Their odysseys through Africa or Asia makes them vulnerable to gangs of unscrupulous human traffickers.
The recent tragedy has at least kicked off a widespread debate about the EU's refugee policies on the part of politicians, NGOs and the media. Some are calling for an expansion of Frontex, the EU border control agency, some for more forceful crackdowns against people smugglers, or for more cooperation to improve situations in the refugees' countries of origin. Other critics blame politicians for concentrating on keeping refugees out, rather than helping them get to Europe legally. And the debate continues over how many people which countries should take in - and how to help overburdened Italy and Greece, both major destinations for refugees seeking to enter the EU.
How should Europe deal with the people who approach its shores? Does it share the blame for the many thousands of deaths at sea? Does the EU need a new asylum policy?
Tell us what you think: Refugee Tragedy – Europe in the Dock
Christian Jakob is an editor of the German newspaper taz and responsible for the front page topics. Previously, he worked in the taz´ office in Bremen and carried out some practices in the newspaper La Jornada of Mexico City. His reporting focuses on the issues of migration and North-South relations. In his first book “Ethnic Cleansing” he describes the expulsion of the lower class in New Orleans after the catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina. He has also been part of the publication ”Europe sealed tight.”
Michael Stürmer has been the senior correspondent at the German daily "Die Welt" since 1989. Born in Kassel in 1938, Stürmer studied History, Philosophy and Languages in London, Berlin and Marburg. He is also Professor of Modern History at the University of Erlangen.
Laura Lucchini after studying communication sciences at university in Milan and Madrid, she completed a master’s degree in journalism in Buenos Aires. Today, she is a freelance journalist for the Argentinean newspaper “La Nación”, the “El País” in Spain, and the Italian publications “Linkiesta” and “L´Unità.”