The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in Lampedusa, which is dealing with the largest influx of refugees so far, called it illegal migration, which is a European challenge that needs a European response.
According to her, Europeans will decide who will come to Europe, not smugglers. “Italy can rely on the European Union,” she emphasized.
At a joint press conference with the Italian Prime Minister Giorgio Meloni von der Leyen presented a ten-point European action plan to deal with the influx of refugees that Italy is dealing with.
Among other things, the plan envisages assistance to Italy through EU agencies and strengthening of support for the relocation of refugees, with Ursula von der Leyen calling on EU countries to use the voluntary solidarity mechanism. The plan also envisages Frontex’s assistance in returning refugees to their home countries and control at sea, strengthening the fight against smugglers and updating European legislation in this area.
Von der Leyen: Alternative routes must be offered to defectors
As the President of the European Commission also said, it is also important to offer refugees alternative routes and to protect them on these routes.
According to her, the Union will help Italy in processing asylum applications, as well as Tunisia, where most of the refugees arriving in Lampedusaembarks on a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.
Melons to prevent departures from Africa
“The only way to seriously deal with this issue is to stop illegal departures,” Meloni pointed out. According to her, redistribution of defectors is not a solution, but more permanent solutions must be found. She characterized von der Leyen’s visit as a sign that Europe is also aware of this.
According to the Italian Prime Minister, the agreements with the countries of North Africa are important, as they can prevent deaths at sea, as well as the fight against smugglers, the unification of legislation in the field of migration and a better system for returning defectors at the EU level.
At the same time, she emphasized that the agreement signed by the European Union with Tunisia in July must be implemented as soon as possible, and added that greater involvement of the United Nations is absolutely necessary to solve the issue of the arrival of refugees.
Previously, von der Leyen was together with the European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson already visited the port today Favalorawhere ships with defectors land every day, and reception center on island Lampedusawhich can accommodate about 400 people, and in recent days several thousand have been staying there. “We try our best,” is according to the Italian press agency Ansa said Meloni.
8,500 people arrived in a few days
According to the UN Migration Agency, between Monday and Wednesday, 199 boats Lampedusa about 8,500 people arrived, which is more than the population of this island. Several thousand defectors were already transported to Sicily on Friday.
The increase in the number of refugee arrivals, which occurred despite the European Commission’s July agreement with Tunisia to curb refugee arrivals in Europe, is putting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Meloni, who also won the election on promises that her government would reduce the number of people leaving Africa coming to Italy.