100 migrants drowned off Libyan coast

The EU summit in Brussels agreed that secure centres for migrants may be set up in European states to process asylum claims.

FILE: Survivors rescued from the Mediterranean by the Aquarius, which is operated by the Medecins Sans Frontieres and SOS Mediterranee charities. Picture: unhcr.org.

PRETORIA - European coastguard officials say 100 migrants drowned off the Libyan coast while European Union (EU) leaders were locked in marathon talks about what to do with asylum seekers.

The EU summit in Brussels agreed that secure centres for migrants may be set up in European states to process asylum claims.

The agreement on controlled centres that will be set up by European state on a voluntary basis is designed to satisfy Italy’s new right-wing government and conservative elements keeping German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government in power.

But it falls way short of addressing the core problem of exactly who should take in the migrants.

Their numbers have reduced dramatically to about 80,000 a year.

But the latest drownings show yet again what an emotive issue this remains.