EU weighs up the political and economic cost of saving lives at sea

Postcards from ...

By Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

How much is a human life worth? How many more people have to die to generate enough momentum for Europe to intervene? Unfortunately these are not rhetorical questions. More than 1,500 people have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean on their way from North Africa since the start of 2015.

Many Europeans are wondering how much longer Europe can ignore the tragedy unfolding on its doorstep while politicians and policy makers weigh up the political and economic cost of saving lives at sea.

Italy has argued that its search and rescue Mare Nostrum operation, which saved 150,000 asylum seekers and migrants in 12 months at an estimated cost of €9m a month was economically unsustainable to run.

Mare Nostrum was duly replaced by the Frontex-led Triton operation. This…

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