After the numerous tragedies in the Mediterranean in the past years, the discussion on providing more safe and legal paths for persons in need of protection to enter the European Union has gained a new dynamic. Decision-makers from the entire political spectrum quickly joined Pope Francis and other representatives of religious communities in their call for solidarity with migrants and protection seekers.
The majority of persons who seek protection in the European Union are forced to do so because for people fleeing violence, war and human rights violations in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia, or Syria, countries of transit do not offer safety and the possibility to establish a new existence.
The lack of safe and legal ways to enter Europe in search of protection forces these people to rely on smugglers, being in danger of falling prey to traffickers and other criminals. They risk their lives in unseaworthy boats on the Mediterranean, or by climbing the fences at the external land borders of the European Union. According to IOM, 3,165 migrants died between January and August 2016.