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Monday, September 25, 2023

Lampedusa: Ursula von der Leyen and Giorgia Meloni visit island after migrant boat fears

The European Commission (EU) President, Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni have visited a migrant reception centre on the Italian island of Lampedusa following calls by the Italian authority for EU help with small boat arrivals.

More than 8,000 migrants have arrived on the island over the past three days.

PM Meloni says Italy is being placed under “unsustainable pressure”.

Ms von der Leyen acknowledged during the visit that the issue was “a European challenge and needs a European answer”.

At a news conference with Ms Meloni, she praised the people of Lampedusa for the support they had given to migrants, who she said had arrived on the island “simply because of its location”.

She pledged to increase support to transfer migrants out of Lampedusa as well as stepping up efforts against people smugglers who enabled dangerous and illegal journeys.

The problem could not be solved by Italy alone, Ms Meloni said. It was currently affecting “the borders, the frontier countries” but would soon involve all of the EU states, she said.

“The future of Europe depends on its ability to tackle epoch-making challenges of our time and the challenge of illegal immigration is for sure one of them.”


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