We all know what needs to be done.
The extraordinary European Council took hesitant steps in this direction:
–A search and rescue operation that is properly funded and widespread to cover the North African coast.
–Amendments to the Dublin II treaty that respect the interests of all European states, big and small.
–Action against people traffickers.
–A policy for regular migration to Europe covering asylum seekers and economic migrants.
–A comprehensive development aid programme for sub-Saharan Africa.
However humanitarian action, vital though it is, can no longer be enough.
Recent events constitute a big discontinuity in past scenarios.
South of Malta in ten days, there were more deaths by drowning than when The Titanic sank.
It is no longer just a humanitarian emergency.
It is also a security crisis.
It has to be dealt with immediately, in the interests of all Europeans and all migrants.
Police exercises — sporadic or programmed — will not be enough.
People trafficking operations have reached industrial proportions.
They will be penetrated — perhaps already are — by extremist elements.
The situation in Libya, which has the longest stretch of coastline, is out of control.
Waiting for a unified government to form there before decisive action is taken is will contribute to further instabilities and deaths.
That now means blockading action outside the coasts of North Africa.
It would be the best way by which to save lives.