World News Brief, Tuesday April 21

EU foreign ministers meet to assess escalating migrant crisis; Philippines alarmed by China's land reclamation efforts in South China Sea; Japan and US iron out outstanding TPP issues; China and Pakistan sign investment deals worth $46 billion; dozens of people with links to Greece's neo-Naxi political party go on trial; and more


EU Holds Emergency Meeting on Migrant Crisis

European Union foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting (Deutsche Welle) in Luxembourg on Monday to assess the escalating migrant crisis. Hundreds are feared dead (NYT) after a fishing boat capsized north of the Libyan shore. The boat had been carrying as many as nine hundred and fifty migrants, according to a survivor. Twenty-eight people have been rescued and twenty-four bodies recovered. Separately, three migrants died (Reuters) and ninety others were rescued by Greek authorities when a ship ran aground off an island on Monday. Meanwhile, the International Organization of Migration (IOM) reported Monday that it received a distress call (BBC) from a sinking boat carrying three hundred migrants. Last year, the EU downsized its search-and-rescue program in a bid to deter migrants from making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, but numbers continue to swell. Before this most recent disaster, the IOM estimated (Guardian) that twenty thousand migrants had arrived in Italy in the first four months of 2015, while nine hundred migrants had died.


"Europe is de facto already an immigration continent. Many countries have to deal with an aging population and will continue to need immigrants in the future. Quotas and point systems could help in making this process legal and transparent. This would help curb those leaving in search of work from running to the boats of human traffickers in the Mediterranean," writes Johannes Beck in Deutsche Welle.

"The overwhelming challenge facing Europe today is the future of its economy and of the eurozone. Millions of jobs and political stability depend on the outcome. Events in the Mediterranean should provoke a crisis of conscience and of memory. Europeans cannot call themselves civilised if they fail to respond generously to people seeking salvation on their own continent," writes the Financial Times.

"It would be foolish to imagine that the migrants and asylum-seekers will stop coming. In lawless Libya and in the migrants' countries of origin—Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Mali—the factors pushing them to gamble their lives on a sea crossing to Italy are still in place," writes the Economist


Aquino Warns China About South China Sea Activities

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said in an interview (SCMP) that China's activities in the South China Sea, including land reclamation efforts, had become increasingly alarming and he compared a lack of international response to China to appeasing Hitler. Vietnam and the Philippines are in the process of negotiating details of a new "strategic partnership" to fend off China’s maritime claims. Meanwhile, the Philippines and the United States launched (WSJ) one of their largest joint military exercises in fifteen years on Monday.

This CFR InfoGuide provides insight and analysis on China's maritime disputes.

JAPAN: Japanese and U.S. officials kicked-off (Japan Times) a two-day meeting in Tokyo on Sunday, ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the United States next week. High-level representatives are seeking to resolve outstanding issues concerning the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.

This CFR Backgrounder explores the future of U.S. trade policy. 


China and Pakistan to sign investment deals worth $46 billion

Dozens of people linked to Greece's neo-Nazi political party on trial

This is an excerpt of the Daily News Brief. The full version is available on