London, Feb.22 (ANI): European Union ministers have warned that their shores could be hit by a tidal wave of refuges should the Colonel Gaddafi-led regime in Libya collapse.
According to The Telegraph, officials in Brussels believe that as many as 750,000 refugees could attempt to cross the Mediterranean into southern Europe.
Libyan estimates, however, put the figure as high as two million, with vast numbers of sub-Saharan illegal immigrants seizing the opportunity to use the lawless country as a gateway to Europe.
A 500 million pound accord, signed between the EU and Tripoli last year, has helped combat the flow of illegal immigrants.
But with diplomats claiming Gaddafi's 42-year rule could be in its death throes, southern Europe is being warned to prepare for a fresh influx of migrants.
Gaddafi had earlier threatened to withdraw border and coastal patrols, warning that "Europe will become black" if he ceased co-operation over immigration.
While EU diplomats insisted he was in no position to make such threats, some Mediterranean countries said it was inevitable that the sudden collapse of his regime would lead to a major increase in those heading to Europe. (ANI)