Eight European countries agree to take the 49 migrants at sea

The 49 migrants who have been stranded at sea for over two weeks on board two NGO vessels outside Malta will be brought to Malta, then redistributed to eight European Union countries, as a deal has finally been reached.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat made the announcement this morning, listing the countries that will be taking in the migrants: Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy.

Most of the 249 migrants brought to Malta in December will also be taken to other EU countries.

The crew on the migrant rescue vessel had said the situation on the ship was “dire” after more than two weeks of those rescued stranded at sea.

Pope Francis on Sunday also called for solidarity with the stranded migrants, as Archbishop Charles Scicluna visited another migrant rescue vessel that remains impounded in Malta.

Politicians and human rights NGOs have also appealed for the migrants’ disembarkation.

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