Jane Collins MEP responds to report from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
UKIP MEP Jane Collins has said only "tough love" will stop thousands of migrants putting their lives in the hands of people traffickers to make their way to Europe.
Ms Collins responded to the report that 525 migrants have died making the crossing from North Africa saying that "lives will continue to be lost until we end the pull which makes them put their lives in the hands of criminal gangs."
The IOM report says that 20,484 migrants have already entered Europe by sea this year, with over 80 per cent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. Although this is much lower than the first few months of 2016, the number of deaths is significantly greater.
"EU leaders play into the hands of criminals and terrorists with their policy of allowing anyone who claims they are from Syria or who have thrown away their identity documents to stay in the EU," she said.
"The people being trafficked, often paying thousands of pounds, don't realise that once they get to Italy or Greece they can't suddenly claim benefits and make a legal crossing to the UK where they have been told everything will be handed to them on a plate.
"They don't realise that they may have to spend months living in squalor in migrant camps in Northern France run by violent gangs, spending their nights trying to break into lorries or being smuggled in the back of cars.
"But we know from the experience of Australia that the only way to stop this from happening is to stop boats reaching the shore and to turn boats who are found trying to cross the Mediterranean back to where they left.
"Not only has this EU policy allowed terrorists and criminals to get into the Continent and fill their coffers, they've also caused problems for the indigenous populations, especially women in places like Germany and Sweden.
"Politicians who care about the wellbeing of the people they serve would realise the error of their ways and make changes."