Daily Archives: March 2, 2011

José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, announced he was sending the emergency relief commissioner, Kristalina Georgieva, to Tunisia Wednesday night to oversee the EU’s humanitarian aid effort to the growing refugee crisis along the Libyan border.

Your Brussels Blogger has been in Malta reporting on how southern Europe has been preparing for a possible flood of migrants fleeing Libya. Despite all the bluster, thus far the only two who have claimed asylum in Europe from Libya are the two defecting fighter pilots who flew over in their Mirage jets last week.

Why the exodus to Tunisia and not across the Mediterranean? Officials in Malta say the awful weather in the past week is the real reason why nobody has attempted the 400km journey from Libya.

As I explained in my story on Monday, it’s not fleeing Libyans that Europeans are most worried about. Their main concern relates to foreigners living in Libya, mostly from other parts of Africa, who might use the chaos to flee in Europe. Many hail from places like war-torn Somalia, which nearly automatically entitles them to some sort of protection as refugees if they reach Europe.