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Meloni warns against the arrival of “several tens of millions” of Africans in Europe



Refugees on Lampedusa sleep in the open

After the arrival of thousands of refugees on Lampedusa in recent days, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called for a response from the EU. She invited the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to see for herself the seriousness of the situation.

Since the beginning of the week, several thousand defectors have arrived on Lampedusa, which lies about 190 kilometers from the coast of Tunisia, by boat. According to the UN migration agency, about 8,500 people arrived on 199 boats between Monday and Wednesday alone, which is more than the island’s population.

“The migration pressure that Italy has been experiencing since the beginning of the year is unbearable. It is the result of the difficult international situation in Africa,” Meloni said in a video message broadcast by her office.

The Prime Minister warned that it could “several tens of millions of people” in Africa wanted to leave their countries because of coups or famine, adding that “it is obvious that Italy and Europe cannot accept this huge mass” people.

Von der Leyen invited the President of the European Council to visit Lampedusa Charles Michel and put the matter on the agenda of the October EU summit.

“The Italian government intends to immediately take extraordinary measures to control the number of illegal arrivals we are witnessing on our shores,” Meloni announced.

The EU called for cooperation, “if necessary, by naval mission”, to prevent refugees from crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa.

The Italian prime minister also said that the government would meet on Monday and take extraordinary measures, including calling on the army to build larger reception centers to accommodate defectors, and extending the allowed detention time.

Due to its proximity to the Tunisian coast, Lampedusa has been one of the entry points for migrants to Europe for years. The local city council declared a state of emergency on Wednesday due to the worsening situation.

Most of the ships and boats with defectors to Italy come from Tunisia. Meloni was involved in drafting the July agreement between the EU and the African country, which aims to stop the arrival of defectors in exchange for money, but the agreement has not yet been implemented.

On Friday, Meloni also called on the European Commission to immediately transfer 250 million euros to Tunisia.

Refugees are gradually being moved from Lampedusa to Sicily and other parts of Italy. “I hope that the situation will improve and that they will allow us to leave, because the living conditions outside are not easy. We sleep in the open, in the sun and in the cold,” said a 29-year-old refugee from Cameroon Claudine Nsoe, who came with two children. As she said, the journey from Libya to Lampedusa took a week.

According to data from the Interior Ministry in Rome, about 127,200 people have arrived in Italy by boat since the beginning of the year, compared to about 66,200 in the same period last year.

Source: Rtvslo

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