“It is clear that the increased pressure that Italy, Malta, Greece and other Mediterranean countries are experiencing is a European problem, and that a sound management of migratory and asylum flows at national level has to be accompanied by supporting initiatives and measures at EU level,” Cecilia Malmstrom wrote in an article posted on the Sunday Times of Malta.
The comments came several days after deadly incidents off the Italian coast, where scores of migrants drowned.
The EU commissioner also stated that operations initiated by the European Commission have given better means for authorities to detect, track and identify boats and vessels.
“But this cannot be done without additional and urgent contributions by member states. After the recent tragedies the EU needs to demonstrate that it is able to find answers.”
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat recently criticized European countries’ inaction to the migration crisis and accused EU leaders of “only waking up when people die.”
Malta together with Italy are planning to appeal to member states at an upcoming EU summit for help in managing the crisis, as there has been a surge of migrants arriving in the southern European countries by sea.
According to estimates by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), some 32,000 migrants arrived in Malta and Italy in 2013 alone.
However, at the same time, thousands of migrants perish each year while attempting to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean in often badly overcrowded fishing vessels or rubber boats. An estimated 17,000 to 20,000 migrants have died at sea in the past two decades.