The crisis sparked by rising migrant arrivals to the European Union was one of the major themes discussed at the meeting of finance ministers and central bank chiefs from the world’s top 20 economies, a Turkish minister said. “We discussed for the first time the migration issue in the context of labour migration,” Turkey’s Labour and Social Security Minister Ahmet Erdem told reporters in Ankara after the first sessions of the two-day G20 meeting got under way in the Turkish capital.
“I believe this issue will be discussed more at G20 meetings in the coming years,” said Erdem, whose country holds the rotating G20 presidency. More than 350,000 migrants have risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean this year, and some 2,600 have died while making the perilous journey to Europe, the International Organisation for Migration said Tuesday.
The latest figures from IOM show that 234,778 migrants had landed in Greece and another 114,276 in Italy, with most of the other arrivals split between Spain (2,166) and the island of Malta (94). The figure from 2015 already dwarfs that of 2014, when 219,000 made the crossing throughout the entire year.
The majority of arrivals in Greece were Syrians fleeing the country’s protracted civil war, while Eritreans topped the list of migrants who have landed in Italy. Turkey is a major crossing point for many migrants — who risk their lives during perilous journeys in the hope of finding jobs in Europe.
The pictures of the lifeless body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Bordum in Turkey’s southwest have sparked a wave of emotion in Europe which is divided over how to respond to the crisis.