European Union and its policies are responsible for the growing migrant crisis in Europe, the United Nation agency for refugees said on Thursday.
"In our view, European countries need to work together rather than point fingers at each other. In order to deal with this situation, Europe should open more legal ways for refugees to come," William Spindler, senior spokesperson of the UNHCR, told Al-Jazeera.
Spindler's criticisms of the EU come as authorities fear more than 200 people dead after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean Wednesday night.
According to the UNHCR, more than 224,000 migrants and refugees had arrived in Europe in the first seven months of 2015, exceeding the 219,000 that had made their way to the continent a year ago.
"The UNHCR is urging European countries to provide more places for refugees through resettlement programs, family reunification, humanitarian admission, private sponsorship schemes, and work and education visas."
According to figures from the U.N., over 2,000 migrants have so far lost their lives in the crossing this year alone, compared with 3,279 during the whole of 2014.
Italian officials have echoed the sentiment of the U.N. officials towards the EU following Wednesday's incident. “We are witnessing a genocide caused by European selfishness,” said Leoluca Orlando mayor of the Italian city of Palermo.
Italy has endured most of the burden of the migrants as many of them end up on the southern Italian shores as they cross from Libya.
However, Spindler said that Europe in fact received only a little portion of the global population of refugees.
"Despite the increase in sea arrivals to Europe this year, European countries receive a relatively small share of refugees compared to other regions. Worldwide, 86 percent of the refugees under UNHCR’s mandate live in developing countries," he said.