Italy has dispatched two ships to help take 629 migrants stuck off its shores to Spain after the new populist government refused them safe port in a bid to force Europe to share the burden of unrelenting arrivals. The rescue ship Aquarius has been stuck since Saturday in international waters off the coast of Italy and Malta, both of which have refused it entry. The ship is carrying 629 migrants including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and six pregnant women.
Pope Francis has warned against the risk that militants could slip into Europe under cover of a huge wave of refugees fleeing war in Syria but also said the migrant crisis could help reawaken the continent's conscience.
One year after the tragic shipwreck off the island of Lampedusa in Italy, wars such as in Syria, protracted crises and chaos in Libya continue to push an unprecedented number of refugees to Europe.