A shipwreck last week near the Italian island of Lampedusa that killed almost 300 African migrants has ignited a political debate to further protect the borders of the European Union. The shipwreck was caused by water that flooded the ship which mixed with the fuel and caused it to ignite. The public response to the tragedy has forced the European Union to adopt a new surveillance system that will help alleviate the European Union’s growing problem with illegal immigrants.
The citizens of Lampedusa have previously complained to the European Union about the thousands of migrants who illegally cross their borders every year from Africa and the Middle East. While trying to mourn the tragedy, the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, was heckled by the islanders protesting the current immigration policy.
In response to the rising concerns and protests about the current immigration policy, European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom proposed expanding the role of the agency that patrols the sea for migrant ships. Currently the agency, Frontex, only can patrol off the coast of Italy using equipment loaned from the EU member states but the proposal suggests requesting the EU governments to give cash and to provide the boats and aircrafts that will protect the Mediterranean Sea.
The surveillance system that the EU has adopted is predicted to improve information gathering and information sharing throughout the member states while using satellites to help deter another tragedy such as this one from happening again. In the interim, President Jose Barroso has promised Italy 30 million euro to provide assistance to care for the migrants.