Germany backs EU refugee budget

Germany has proposed diverting 10% of the EU budget towards dealing with the refugee crisis.

German development minister Gerd Müller said the EU’s approach to responding to the refugee crisis was not working.

“We need to respond to this with new instruments and my proposal regarding the refugee crisis is that 10% of the EU budget be shifted in order to respond to this crisis,” said Mr Müller.

Yesterday, it emerged that fewer refugees are dying as they try to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, which may reflect better management of refugee flows and swifter rescues, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.

This year 1,370 migrants and refugees have perished at sea, nearly 25% fewer than in the same period last year, IOM spokesman Joel Millman said.

An estimated 191,134 people have arrived by boat this year in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Spain.

The death toll included 13 in May, none of them on the eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece, where arrivals have slowed to a trickle since the EU struck a deal with Turkey to get it to curb the flow.

This compared with 95 deaths in May a year ago and 330 in May 2014.

More than 3,770 people are estimated to have died in the whole of 2015, most of them by drowning after their flimsy, overloaded boats capsized.

“Obviously now that the Turkey-Greece route appears suspended for the time being, we hope that this is the beginning of a sound management policy of refugees and migrants who wish to make the crossing and don’t take these enormous risks,” Mr Millman told a news briefing.

Some 2,725 migrants were rescued attempting to reach Europe from Libya over the past 24 hours by various vessels, he said. IOM also had reports that Libya’s coastguard had turned back 850 migrants.

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