Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Funerals for 24 of more than 800 people killed when a migrant boat capsized on Sunday have been held in Malta
  2. EU leaders meet in Brussels at an emergency summit on the growing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean
  3. 1,750 people are known to have died at sea so far this year, a huge rise on the same period last year
  4. Italy says it is "at war" with migrant traffickers, and has urged the EU to take military action
  5. The would-be migrants are attempting to flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa

Live Reporting

By Sarah Fowler, Claudia Allen, Yaroslav Lukov and James Reevell

All times stated are UK

Get involved

We're wrapping up our live coverage of the emergency EU summit in Brussels, following the recent deaths of hundreds of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Thanks for staying with us. You can follow all of the latest updates on the

BBC News website.

Syrians, Iraqis, Somalis and Eritreans were among the refugees captured on footage filmed from inside one of the people-smuggling boats. The UN refugee agency, UNHCR,

has been speaking to some of the families who made it safely to shore.

Stuart Hughes

BBC News, Malta

tweets: "It left me in pieces. I came here to cry." #malta #migrantcrisis

Image of Wedeb Debira, migrant activist, in Malta
BBC

'Death sentence'

Paul Adams

BBC News, Sicily

Mbaye Gueye, of the Community of Sant'Egidio, a Christian lay group closely involved in working with migrants in Sicily, says the EU's primary focus on prevention is like a death sentence. "We will just send them to their deaths," he told the BBC.

Frustration with UK approach

Simon Wilson

BBC Europe bureaux editor, Brussels

There is obviously some frustration in Brussels with UK Prime Minister David Cameron's approach to this summit. An official from one of the Mediterranean EU countries briefing journalists in the summit press area told us that his country was "…not like the UK".

Mr Cameron, he said, came here with the position: "We will give boats, we will give planes…but in exchange he doesn't want to take in any migrants."

UN humanitarian zone

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, a former Nato commander, tells the BBC he would like to see a UN humanitarian zone declared off the Libyan coast.

"Dozens of boats are departing daily from the North African shore, without any control or regulation whatsoever," he says.

"To that end, what I think we should put in place is a United Nations authorised Humanitarian Disaster area, such that we're able to take over the responsibilities of the Libyans for security of life and safety at sea, for as long as this crisis persists."

Despite the recent disasters, hundreds of migrants are continuing to arrive at Italy's small Lampedusa island on a daily basis. These men are waiting patiently to board a ship to be transported to Sicily.

Migrant men wait in line to board a ship bound for Sicily on 23 April 2015 in Lampedusa, Italy.
Getty Images

'Take the smugglers' business away'

People smugglers should be intercepted about 40 to 50 miles (64 to 80km) off the Libyan coast and their boats destroyed, Thomas Jakobsson from Sea Marshals Risk Management tells the BBC.

"It needs to be dealt with a lot closer to the Libyan coast, to get the people back, to remove the business from the smugglers. If you remove the business from them, it will stop and you will have less dead bodies, that's how simple it is."

More from MEP Martin Schulz, who said the possibility of destroying human traffickers' vessels was "touched upon" in the EU meeting, warning "we need to check the conditions".

He appeared to dismiss any military option, saying he did not see how it "would help us at this juncture".

European Parliament President Martin Schulz addresses reporters as he arrives at the European Council headquarters for an extraordinary summit of European leaders to deal with a worsening migration crisis, on 23 April 2015 in Brussels.
AFP

'Unfair' criticism

EU Parliament President Martin Schulz said a little earlier in a press briefing that it was unfair for people to criticise the EU "for the inadequacies that have led in this particular case to the disasters".

He said he hoped to get a "significant increase" in the budget for Triton (see 16:46).

But, he added, what is key is for EU states to agree to a fair quota system of legal immigration.

Chaos

Quentin Sommerville

BBC News

tweets: Libya's chaos, rival governments & IS presence mean it is still unable to stop migrants heading out across the Med, even with new EU plan.

'Appalling' EU response

Amnesty International's Kate Allen comes down hard on the EU, saying its "response to one of the worst refugee crises since World War Two has been appalling".

Ms Allen has just visited the Italian island of Lampedusa, where she met migrants and coast guard rescuers.

"Everyone I spoke to in the camp had a legitimate reason for leaving their own countries, " she continues, "Europe has a bigger role to play than just closing it's borders".

Status unclear

Many of the rescued migrants currently being held on Italy's small Lampedusa island are now preparing to be transferred to Sicily. Their future status in the EU remains unclear.

A migrant woman and a young child wait to board a ship in Lampedusa bound for Sicily
Getty Images

'Crossing tips'

Illegal migrants have been posing questions on social media sites to glean information on how to safely get to Europe,

BBC Monitoring reports.

"How can I travel to Libya from Syria at the present time?" is one of the questions posted on Google Answers' Arabic-language page, with users providing tips on how to evade detection by the European authorities.

At the same time, adverts for scheduled trips from Turkey to countries such as Greece and Italy - with telephone numbers of who to contact - are also visible on several Facebook pages.

EU plan 'not enough'

The EU has been heavily criticised over its Mediterranean rescue service Triton, which replaced the larger Italian Mare Nostrum operation last year.

Critics say a 10-point action plan agreed on Monday - which envisages an increase in the financial resources and a new campaign to destroy traffickers' boats - does not go far enough.

Bigger question

Ben Wright

BBC Political correspondent, Brussels

says there is a considerable pressure from aid agencies to upgrade the EU's remit and launch a proper search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean.

There is an even bigger question on what to do with migrants once they arrive in Europe, he adds.

'Litmus test'

UK Prime Minister David Cameron's offer (see 14:35 entry) to send the HMS Bulwark and two border patrol ships "is a big breakthrough," Save the Children's Brendan Cox says. It will put pressure on other EU nations to step up, he continues, but "we need more details on the specifics".

"The litmus test for the meeting as a whole remains whether that beefed up search and rescue mission will be deployed in the timeframe (48 hours) and at the scale (at least three times current budget) that is necessary."

Undated file picture of HMS Bulwark
PA

West Africa’s lost migrant boys

The BBC's Paul Adams meets teenage boys from West Africa who arrived as unaccompanied minors in Italy and face frustration at the slow pace of bureaucracy and long for their families.

Adolescent migrants are seen at the courtyard of an immigration centre in Caltagirone, Sicily, 18 March 2015
Reuters
The number of unaccompanied minors reaching Italy has increased recently, officials say

Rome demo

Emotional scenes outside Italy's parliament in Rome, where asylum seekers have gathered to demand freedom of movement and work in Europe.

The thousands of people making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean are fleeing war and poverty and hoping to build better livelihoods in Europe.

Aboubakar Soumahoro, from Ivory Coast, spokesman of the association "Sans-Papiers" in Italy cries during a demonstration of asylum seekers in front of the Italian parliament in Rome on 23 April 2015.
AFP

What next?

What happens to migrants brought to shore?

Lt Keith Caruan, of the Malta Armed Forces, tells BBC World TV they and any evidence are handed over to the local police force, before being processed through immigration officials and later distributed to detention centres.

"There's a whole process that tries to investigate their origins and why they've left," he adds.

'Thrown overboard'

We're starting to get a clearer picture of what led to Sunday's disastrous crossing, in which more than 800 people perished.

Many of the would-be migrants, according to Italian prosecutors, were subjected to beatings, with one young boy thrown overboard as they were transported to the fishing ship because he stood up without permission on the rubber dinghy, AP reports.

Minute's silence

Donald Tusk, European council president

tweets: "Observing a minute of silence in remembrance of the victims of the recent tragedies in the #Mediterranean."

Italian PM Matteo Renzi (left) and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras respect a minute of silence during a European Union extraordinary summit
Reuters

Malta funerals

In Malta, funerals have been held for 24 of those killed in Sunday's disaster.

Here, Selemauit Hagus Belay (centre) of Ethiopia cries as a hearse carrying the coffin of her Eritrean husband Ashih Tekleab Haile leaves Mater Dei Hospital outside the capital Valletta.

Selemauit Hagus Belay (centre) of Ethiopia cries as a hearse carrying the coffin of her Eritrean husband Ashih Tekleab Haile leaves Mater Dei Hospital outside Valletta, Malta.
Reuters

'Stop this madness'

Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Roivas has just arrived in Brussels with some strong comments.

"The EU is committed to stop this madness of human trafficking at our doorsteps".

"Co-operating with North African countries to destroy smugglers' boats and sending border guards and equipment to support Italy, Greece and Malta should be clear EU commitments," the EU's youngest head of government adds.

Is military force the solution?

The BBC's Jasmine Coleman looks at proposals for military action to target people smugglers and alternative ideas to stop migrants dying at sea.

Rescued migrants stand aboard the Italian Guardia di Finanza vessel Denaro upon arrival to the Sicilian harbour of Catania on 23 April 2015.
Getty Images
Calls have mounted for a military response to the Mediterranean migrant crisis

'Rehashed proposals'

"The proposals are a rehash of what we've heard in the past. What's different is there's more political willingness," Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

is quoted as saying by The Times of Malta.

"There's a changed political climate. Is it enough? It is never enough," he adds.

From army barracks to a migrant detention centre

Gavin Lee

BBC News, Malta

tweets: "I used to be a wealthy Libyan army officer, now I live in a migrant centre, 10 men per room"- Alhassan on life in Malta"

Four photos showing Al-Hassan as a soldier and in a migrant centre
BBC

Migrants dreams in Lampedusa

Jack Garland

BBC News, Lampedusa, Italy

tweets: 'This migrant in Lampedusa told us he's a petroleum engineer fleeing war in Libya & dreaming of study in the UK' @Jackwgarland

Migrant behind bars
BBC

How British offer will work

Jonathan Beale

Defence correspondent, BBC News

writes: "Helicopters will be able to land on the ship, but as HMS Bulwark has no hanger to maintain them, the helicopters - probably three Merlins - will be based on land.

The MOD says they are still working through the detail, but one option is to station the helicopters on Malta. They will then be able to "lillypad" onto Bulwark whenever necessary.

"The MOD is not yet providing any detail of the Prime Minister's statement in Brussels that two patrol boats would also help in the operation. It's not yet certain that they'll be Royal Navy vessels."

BBC Outside Source

tweets: 'I'd rather stay in Libya than risk my life on boat to Europe' - Ghanaian man tells @BBCOS #MigrantCrisis
http://bbc.in/1GmaIYU

migrants
other

'Unacceptable' situation

French President Francois Hollande is now also in Brussels.

He says: "France asked for this European Council because there is a humanitarian situation that is unacceptable. The first decision expected is to reinforce Europe's presence at sea."

"The second decision is to fight against the traffickers who are often terrorists… who leave tens, hundreds of victims".

Mr Cameron also warns that Britain will require assurances that rescued migrants would not be able to come to the UK.

"Of course under the right conditions; that must include that people that we pick up and people we deal with are taken to the nearest safe country, most likely Italy, and don't have recourse to claim asylum in the UK," he says.

More from David Cameron

More from David Cameron.

He says: "Now of course saving lives means rescuing these poor people, but it also means smashing the gangs and stabilising the region. Now Britain as ever will help.

"We'll use our aid budget to help stabilise neighbouring countries and - as the country in Europe with the biggest defence budget - we can make a real contribution."

British offer

British PM David Cameron in Brussels
AFP / getty images

British Prime Minister David Cameron has arrived at the summit.

He has said Britain is offering HMS Bulwark, three helicopters and two border patrol ships to bolster efforts to deal with the crisis.

'Solving at source'

Stuart Hughes

BBC News, Malta

I have met Mario Gauci, a manager of Hal Far migrant village.

"The problem has to be solved at source," Mr Gauci says.

"I think we need to stop them before they leave - the trip is too dangerous. I'm surprised they're still doing it.

"Malta is a very small island. Perhaps, offices need to be set up in African countries where asylum seekers can be processed. That would save a lot of deaths, I think."

Mario Gauci
BBC

Migrant's story

One African migrant, Gassama,

tells the BBC about his long journey from The Gambia through Libya to Europe.

He has even set up a Facebook page to try to dissuade others from making the hazardous trip through Libya.

The Facebook group set up by Gassama
Stephen Fottrell
Gassama set up this Facebook group to dissuade fellow migrants from coming through Libya

Treading carefully

Katya Adler

Europe editor

writes: "EU leaders will tread warily today. They'll phrase their public statements very carefully.

"There will be expressions of outrage at the human traffickers who put people on the boats in the first place, and an emphasis on the EU helping people caught in war zones, by supporting UN efforts at conflict resolution and government-building.

"Underlying this though is a drive to stop people trying to enter Europe in their hundreds of thousands."

Read more.