World

EU nations have no ready answers as the flow of thousands of migrants across the Med increases

  • Migrants arrive at Palermo's harbor, Italy, after being rescued at sea, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The U.N. refugee agency says the shipwreck in the Mediterranean this week, in which 400 migrants are presumed to have died, is among the deadliest single incidents in the last decade. The tragedy comes amid an unprecedented wave of migration toward Europe from Africa and the Middle East. UNHCR Italy spokeswoman Barbara Molinario says 900 migrants have died or gone missing at sea so far this year, part of a phenomenon the agency has been tracking since 2011. (AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini)

    Migrants arrive at Palermo's harbor, Italy, after being rescued at sea, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The U.N. refugee agency says the shipwreck in the Mediterranean this week, in which 400 migrants are presumed to have died, is among the deadliest single incidents in the last decade. The tragedy comes amid an unprecedented wave of migration toward Europe from Africa and the Middle East. UNHCR Italy spokeswoman Barbara Molinario says 900 migrants have died or gone missing at sea so far this year, part of a phenomenon the agency has been tracking since 2011. (AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini)  (The Associated Press)

  • European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos speaks during a committee meeting on civil liberties and justice at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. The European Union on Tuesday said that more than 7,000 migrants have been plucked from the Mediterranean since Friday as an unprecedented wave of people flee conflict and poverty to seek better lives in Europe. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

    European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos speaks during a committee meeting on civil liberties and justice at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. The European Union on Tuesday said that more than 7,000 migrants have been plucked from the Mediterranean since Friday as an unprecedented wave of people flee conflict and poverty to seek better lives in Europe. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)  (The Associated Press)

  • Migrants arrive at Palermo's harbor, Italy, after being rescued at sea, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The U.N. refugee agency says the shipwreck in the Mediterranean this week, in which 400 migrants are presumed to have died, is among the deadliest single incidents in the last decade. The tragedy comes amid an unprecedented wave of migration toward Europe from Africa and the Middle East. UNHCR Italy spokeswoman Barbara Molinario says 900 migrants have died or gone missing at sea so far this year, part of a phenomenon the agency has been tracking since 2011. (AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini)

    Migrants arrive at Palermo's harbor, Italy, after being rescued at sea, Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The U.N. refugee agency says the shipwreck in the Mediterranean this week, in which 400 migrants are presumed to have died, is among the deadliest single incidents in the last decade. The tragedy comes amid an unprecedented wave of migration toward Europe from Africa and the Middle East. UNHCR Italy spokeswoman Barbara Molinario says 900 migrants have died or gone missing at sea so far this year, part of a phenomenon the agency has been tracking since 2011. (AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini)  (The Associated Press)

European Union nations are struggling to confront the challenge of the unprecedented numbers of migrants coming across the Mediterranean and have few answers to contain the humanitarian catastrophe highlighted by reports that 400 people drowned this week.

Driven chiefly by poverty and conflict, some 10,000 migrants and asylum seekers have sought to sneak into the EU over just the past week and the European nations have no clear response ready.

The spring crossing season will inflate those figures over the weeks to come, yet there are no emergency EU meetings planned or proposals ready to be implemented.

The EU's top migration official, Dimitris Avramopoulos, warned this week that these tragic scenes are "unfortunately the new norm and we will need to adjust our responses accordingly."