Reuters: “The move came after almost 10,000 migrants reached the southern Italian island of Lampedusa last week.”
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s government is taking steps to curb illegal immigration from North Africa after thousands of migrants swarmed the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa within a span of days, reducing the island’s native population of 6,000 to a minority.
“The Italian government, struggling with a surge in arriving migrants, on Monday passed measures to lengthen the time they can be detained and ensure more people who have no legal right to stay are repatriated, government officials said,” Reuters reported Monday. “The move came after almost 10,000 migrants reached the southern Italian island of Lampedusa last week,” the news agency added.
The videos circulating on social media show newly arrived migrants confronting the outnumbered and poorly-equipped local police:
Meanwhile, on the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, thousands of illegal immigrants from Africa who only arrived within the last few days, have set up road blocks to thwart police and are demanding to be transferred to the European mainland. pic.twitter.com/wmq9hZgr6s
— UK Justice Forum 🇬🇧 Latest Video News Updates! (@Justice_forum) September 17, 2023
The European Union, which largely created the problem in the first place by refusing to secure Europe’s borders for years, has also announced a last-minute “10-point plan stop the migrant boast from North African country of Tunisia from reaching Lampedusa,” The Euronews TV channel reported Monday.
Under the plan, Brussels vowed to relocate these migrants to other European member states and cut a new migration deal with the Muslim-majority Tunisia, which has become a bridged-head for migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa heading to Europe, an EU statement says.
— RadioGenoa (@RadioGenoa) September 19, 2023
Germany’s state-owned DW TV reported the frantic measures being taken by the EU and Italy:
Meloni, of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, stressed that the “challenge of the massive flow of immigrants” must be addressed at a pan-European level. “If somebody here in Europe were to think that this crisis that we are tackling and facing could just be solved within Italian borders, then it would be a very big and huge mistake,” she said at a press conference at Lampedusa airport, after her visit to the center.
Over the past few days, Italian authorities, including the mayor of Lampedusa, have voiced concerns that the country has been left to deal with the crisis on its own. During her visit, the European Commission president announced a 10-point action plan for Lampedusa. “Migration is a European challenge and will receive a European solution,” von der Leyen said.
As part of the plan, the European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) and the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) will be deployed to Italy to manage new arrivals. European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas would also be sent to some of the migrants’ countries of origin to negotiate ways of managing migration and returns.
The EU has already signed a deal with Tunisia in July to help put an end to migration from North Africa. The European Commission has not yet paid out the €100 million ($106.6 million) included in the deal and EU officials have told journalists that “it is a work in progress.” On Saturday, Tunisian police at the port of Sfax, one of the main points of departure, arrested hundreds of migrants and began cracking down on people smugglers.
I warned the EU in 2015 that we simply can’t accept countless millions.
These young men in Lampedusa must be sent back. pic.twitter.com/kfkKHAXhvW
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 18, 2023
Germany, Austria gear up a new migrant wave
After initially refusing to relocate migrants arriving in Lampedusa, Germany’s socialist-led government agreed to take them. The “government will again voluntarily accept migrant from Italy,” the newspaper Die Welt reported Monday. “In light of mass-arrival [of migrant] in the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, federal government will resume the intake of migrants from Italy, the daily added.
Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) opposition party accused Berlin of deliberately destroying the country through mass-migration. “While #Lampedusa one speaks of #Invasion of young African men, [Germany’s coalition government] can’t move fast enough to bring them to Germany. This policy — without any logic — only serves to destroy our country,” the party said on its official Twitter/X account.
Deputy Mayor Lampedusa: "Refugees are not welcome. Lampedusa must be free. We want to live from tourism and fishing, nothing more!" Nobody in Italy wants African and Asian invaders, patience is over!
Now locals are outnumbered 3:1 Where's Meloni and the military? pic.twitter.com/5SskzMbLEd
— Dane (@UltraDane) September 19, 2023
Fearing a migrant influx similar to the one in 2015, Germany’s southern neighbor Austria tightened its borders with Italy — angering Brussels and left-wing media.
“In what can be viewed as a fresh blow to the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone, Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer has announced plans to begin restricting free travel into the country from Italy,” the Belgian news website Euractiv reported Monday. “Austria already carries out border checks on its border with Slovenia. The practice, which has been in place since 2015, has drawn the ire of Brussels, but it looks set to be extended.”DONATE
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