The head of the Council of Europe yesterday said that other European countries should do more to share the burden of tackling illegal migration to the continent, a problem that has disproportionately affected the continent's southern countries.
The vast majority of migrants trying to enter the European Union illegally do so through the southern border countries of Greece, Italy and Spain. Hundreds have died this month alone trying to reach the Italian island of Lampedusa on rickety smuggling ships. The countries of the European south, which have also been suffering from a severe financial crisis over recent years, have long called for more assistance from the north.
"There should be more of a burden sharing in Europe when it comes to dealing with this huge challenge, but I see no signs that this will happen," said Thorbjoern Jagland, who heads the continent's top human rights organisation.
The head of the Council of Europe, which includes 47 member states, including the 28 nations in the European Union, stressed it was possible for other European countries to help those bearing the brunt of migration flows without having to accept larger numbers of refugees themselves.