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In recent days, Italian coastguard patrols in the Mediterranean area between Libya and Lampedusa have rescued a thousand migrants, nearly all of them Syrian, who put to sea off the Egyptian coast.
Many experts concur that the closure of the Balkan route has done nothing to diminish the number of refugees determined to reach Europe and that they are simply choosing a different route. Syrians setting off from Turkey (2 700 000), Lebanon (1 048 000), Jordan (642 000) and Syria itself make a detour around Israel through Jordan and cross the Red Sea into Egypt before seeking to reach Italy, where, according to the latest Frontex data, landings are now more numerous than in Greece.
This increasing influx is in danger of triggering the Schengen safeguard mechanism in Member States surrounding Italy, leaving it even more isolated.
In view of this:
|1.||Does the Commission concur that the most recent arrivals are evidence that, following closure of the Balkan route, migrants are now opting for the central Mediterranean route?|
|2.||Does it agree that it is not enough simply to close the Balkan route without a comprehensive accompanying strategy to protect the central Mediterranean?|
|3.||Does it consider that the time has now come to take action in response to calls for specific measures regarding the central Mediterranean that have been voiced for months?|