African migrants in a rubber boat off the coast of Italy
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Many asylum seekers 'have no legal way to access EU'

The European Council on Refugees has criticised an EU decision to scale back operations to rescue migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.

About 150,000 migrants crossing from north Africa have been rescued by Italian ships in the past year alone, but 3,000 are thought to have died.

Secretary General of the European Council on Refugees (ECR) Michael Diedring, told the Today programme that the new policy might have very little impact: "There is almost no safe and legal means to access European soil to file an asylum claim... So individuals who are stranded in north Africa who are fleeing for their lives... The only way that they can attempt to come to Europe is through the use of organised criminals."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday 28 October.

  • 28 Oct 2014
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