Brussels first intends to strengthen assistance to Italy from the European Union Agency for Asylum and the EU’s coast and border guard agency, Frontex.
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The European response was eagerly awaited. The President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen presented, on Sunday September 17, on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, an emergency plan to help Italy manage the record arrival of migrants on its territory.
After visiting, with the head of the Italian government Giorgia Meloni, the reception center for migrants on the small island, Ursula von der Leyen detailed a 10-point aid plan, intended to manage the current situation, to better distribute applicants between European countries and to prevent the repetition of episodes of mass arrivals which put significant strain on the logistical and administrative capacities of the peninsula. It is supposed to combine firmness against smugglers and facilitation of legal channels of entry into the European area for candidates eligible for asylum.
The details of the plan
Brussels first intends to step up assistance to Italy from the European Union Agency for Asylum and the EU’s coast and border guard agency, Frontex, in order to ensure migrant registration, fingerprinting, interviews, etc. Frontex, and other agencies, will also have to intensify surveillance of the seas and “study options for expanding its naval missions in the Mediterranean”.
The commission wants to facilitate the transfer of people arriving in Lampedusa – who are usually taken by boats to Sicily or the continent – including to other European countries. The plan also plans to improve dialogue with the main emigration countries on this route with a view to the readmission of their citizens who do not meet the asylum conditions, in particular Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Burkina Faso.
Finally, the commission wishes “increase awareness and communication campaigns to discourage Mediterranean crossings” all in “continuing to work to offer alternatives such as humanitarian admission and legal pathways” immigration.