Thursday

11th Aug 2022

Commission wants help for Italy after weekend's migrant arrivals

  • Migrants often first arrive on the Italian island of Lampedusa (Photo: Frontex)

The European Commission is demanding EU states come to Italy's aid after the arrival of migrants at sea.

Speaking to reporters on Monday (10 May), EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson said the recent arrivals need to be moved on to other member states.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"There is a need for solidarity towards Italy and I call on other member states to support with relocation," she said. "I know it is more difficult of course in the pandemic times but I think it is possible to manage," she added.

The call comes amid Italian media reports that some 1,400 people arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday.

Although around 11,000 have arrived since the start of the year, the figure is relatively low compared to the large number of arrivals in 2015.

"We are talking about manageable numbers," said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, who was alongside Johansson.

Johansson had earlier in the day spoken to Italy's interior minister Luciana Lamorgese.

Her services are also reaching out to other EU ministers in the hopes they will agree to take in the migrants.

EU states have mostly offloaded search and rescues to NGOs, merchant ships and the Libyans.

It is not the first time the European Commission has made such calls.

"We need a temporary arrangement to deal with the situation," said Johansson.

In its new pact on migration and asylum, presented last September, the commission floated an idea to better coordinate "a more predictable solidarity mechanism for disembarkation".

Johansson said the first meeting on the idea had taken place "a few weeks ago."

But when pressed if there should be a state-led rescue operation in the Mediterranean, she said the most important issue was the prevention of departures.

Grandi took a more proactive position.

"It is important that there is some form of state-led rescue-at-sea mechanism to make safe, predictable and well organised and well coordinated. This is not the case right now," he said.

EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors

A two-year scheme to send asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU states fell short of its potential, say EU auditors. Some 35,000 were helped - but auditors say 445,000 in Greece alone could have also potentially benefited.

Analysis

Migration crisis is one of mismanagement: the figures

Far fewer people are arriving by sea into Europe. As EU leaders are discussing new measures, the debate appears to suggest a major migration crisis. Yet the crisis is more about political indecision.

Agenda

Summit on climate and Russia This WEEK

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi said he would raise the issue of the onward redistribution of migrants landing on the southern shores of Europe at the summit.

Lampedusa: The invisible migrant crisis at Europe's gate

Last weekend, Italy's Lampedusa island was again making headlines for being overrun with migrants. But, paradoxically, the crisis was more visible from TV news bulletins and social media than from the ground.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us