Maltese leader calls for deal on Med migrants


The head of the European Union's presidency is urging member countries to consider opening up humanitarian corridors to allow people fleeing conflict to cross the Mediterranean.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Wednesday that the EU's migrant deal with Turkey must be replicated with northern African countries otherwise "Europe will face a major migration crisis."

Such deals would see migrants screened in Africa to see whether they would be eligible for asylum or are job-seekers unlikely to be allowed in.

Muscat said the EU should "organize humanitarian safe passages and corridors that would get recognized asylum-seekers to Europe safely."

More than 181,000 people attempted dangerous sea crossings of the Mediterranean to get to Italy last year. About 4,500 died. Muscat is expecting another record year in 2017. [AP]