By Carlos A. Quiroga

Two hundred more this week. More than 2,000 so far this year.

They are the illegal immigrants from Africa and the Middle East that do not reach Europe and end up dead in the Mediterranean Sea.

The latest victims were aboard a fishing boat packed with people and no fish, which sank on Wednesday just 15 kilometers off the coast of Libya, where they had left heading towards the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italian vessels and the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders saved 400 people, but the boat, according to survivors, had between 600 and 700 passengers, mostly Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country.

Immigrants suffer triply.

They escape from poverty, violence and injustice in their countries.

Secondly, they fall into the hands of smugglers who charge thousands of euros in exchange for clandestine trips, and an uncertain arrival to an European destination.

Finally, they clash with complicated and disparate European migration policies.

According to the UN, in the first seven months of this year, more than 225,000 immigrants and refugees have arrived in the European Union through the Mediterranean, of which just over half landed in Greece. Of the remainder, the vast majority went to Italy.

The International Organization for Migration, meanwhile, said that so far this year, and excluding this week, 2,000 people have died in the Mediterranean. This is the «more deadly for immigrants seeking a better life» route, says the agency.

«We are witnessing a genocide caused by the European selfishness,» protested on Friday the mayor of the Italian city of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando.

«There is no quick fix for the Mediterranean boat tragedies,» said SwissInfo agency in a research note, noting that the tragedies of migrants have shown the inability of Europe to implement solutions above their urgent political and economic interests.

Rather than a problem, immigrants have become a huge crisis for Europe.

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