Brussels’ crackdown to reduce illegal migration into the bloc has increased the number of deaths and detention.
A new Amnesty International report the EU’s anti-immigration policy has resulted in “721 deaths at sea only from June and July 2018”.
The report reads: “The number of people who drown in the central Mediterranean or who are taken to detention centres in Libya has increased as a result of European policies aimed at closing the central Mediterranean route.”
Amnesty also levels blame on Italy, whose foreign policy is under the control of anti-immigration hardliners Matteo Salvini.
It adds: “The new Italian policies that have left people blocked at sea for days.”
European Union countries «are conspiring to contain refugees and migrants in Libya, where they are exposed to torture and abuse,” according to Matteo de Bellis, an asylum and migration researcher for Amnesty International.
“Despite the decline in the number of people trying to cross the Mediterranean in recent months, the number of deaths at sea has increased.
“The responsibility for the growing number of victims is attributable to European governments that are more concerned with keeping people away than saving lives.”
Migration has wreaked havoc across the EU after domestic leaders were forced to tighten borders amid a populist threat.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been forced to pen a number of bilateral deal in order to keep her job.
She agreed a deal with the Spanish government which will see Madrid taking back asylum seekers who arrive in Germany but have already registered in Spain.
The deal confirms an agreement reached in June, when the parish Government accepted it would take back asylum seekers whose “first entry into the European Union was Spain”.
It only applies if German returns the asylum seekers within 48 of their arrival and if they crossed into Germany at one of three major border crossings along the 1,200-kilometre Austrian-German border.
Mrs Merkel has been forced to secure a number of bilateral deals with European Union colleagues to satisfy her Bavarian conservative ally Mr Seehofer and his anti-immigration campaign ahead of upcoming regional elections.
Of the deal, which will operate from Saturday, interior ministry spokeswoman Eleonore Petermann said: “We welcome Spain’s readiness to cooperate.”
Spanish officials didn’t ask for anything in return for the deal and believe the number of returns will be “very limited”.