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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen Proposes 10-Point EU Action Plan for Italy’s Growing Migrant Crisis on Lampedusa

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EU Commission President Proposes 10-Point Action Plan to Address Migrant Crisis in Lampedusa

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Introduction

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has presented a 10-point action plan to assist Italy in managing the escalating migrant crisis on the island of Lampedusa.

The Growing Crisis in Lampedusa

Last week, Lampedusa experienced a significant surge in boat arrivals, with over 7,000 people reaching the island. This number exceeds the permanent population of Lampedusa. In total, around 126,000 migrants have arrived in Italy this year, nearly double the figure for the same period in 2022.

Supporting Italy’s Efforts

Accompanied by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, President von der Leyen visited Lampedusa and expressed solidarity with the island’s residents. Their car was briefly intercepted by local protestors, highlighting the challenges faced by Lampedusa. Prime Minister Meloni assured the demonstrators that the government is working diligently to address the situation.

The 10-Point Action Plan

Following her visit to a migrant reception center, President von der Leyen, who is expected to seek re-election next year, outlined a 10-point action plan to alleviate the pressure on Italy. This plan aims to address irregular migration from North Africa to Italy by sea.

European Response and Support

During a joint press conference with Prime Minister Meloni, President von der Leyen emphasized the need for a collective European response to irregular migration. She assured Italy of the European Union’s assistance and expressed confidence in the support of other EU leaders.

Key Points of the Action Plan

Among the measures included in the action plan is the utilization of the EU’s external border agency, Frontex, to identify and repatriate migrants who do not qualify for asylum. Frontex will also enhance surveillance of migrant boats, both at sea and in the air, to combat human smuggling. Additionally, the plan aims to expedite the provision of equipment to the Tunisian Coast Guard, the main departure point for migrants, and accelerate the transfer of funds to Tunisia under a previous agreement.

Legal Channels and Combatting Traffickers

President von der Leyen pledged to improve access to legal migration channels while maintaining a strong stance against irregular migration. She stressed the importance of tackling human traffickers in this endeavor.

Political Challenges and Future Measures

The sharp increase in migrant arrivals poses a significant political challenge for Prime Minister Meloni, who has made addressing illegal immigration a core focus of her tenure. Prime Minister Meloni reiterated her belief that the primary approach should be preventing people from leaving for Europe, rather than redistributing migrants across the European Union. The government is set to convene on Monday to approve stringent measures, including the construction of new detention and deportation centers and extending the maximum detention period for migrants.

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