The European border guard Frontex will help in Lampedusa to manage the flow of migrants. European Commission President Von der Leyen announced this during a visit to the Italian island. The measure is part of a ten-point plan that she announced.
The intention is that Frontex will help register migrants and deport people who are rejected for asylum. In addition, the border guard will play a role in increasing surveillance at sea and from the air.
Frontex has come under fire several times in recent years. For example, the CEO resigned last year after reports of illegal pushbacks, in which migrants are forcibly turned back at the border.
Lampedusa declared a state of emergency last week because it can no longer cope with the influx of migrants. Between Monday and Wednesday, 8,500 people arrived by boat on the island, where the reception center can only accommodate 400 people. Most of them have been taken to other locations in Italy, but there are still around 1,500 migrants in Lampedusa.
Von der Leyen spoke of “illegal immigration” and called it “a European challenge that needs a European response”. Among other things, she wants Europe to help remove migrants from Italy and distribute them to other European countries.
Part of the ten-point plan also requires greater cooperation with Tunisia. The intention is for Europe to help improve the training of the Tunisian coast guard.
Many migrants leave Tunisia for Europe and then arrive in Italy. Outgoing Prime Minister Rutte, Italian Prime Minister Meloni and Von der Leyen concluded a controversial deal with Tunisian President Saied a few months ago. The intention was to reduce the number of migrants, but so far little has come of this.
Meloni is also in Lampedusa today. “We are doing what we can,” she told concerned residents. She also appealed to the United Nations. To tackle the problem, Meloni says “serious, sustainable solutions” are needed. She hopes the topic will be discussed next Wednesday at the United Nations general assembly in New York.
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