The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said on Sunday that the European authorities and not the traffickers will “decide who comes to the European Union and under what circumstances”. Ms von der Leyen made the comments during a visit to Lampedusa accompanied by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, as dozens of citizens of the Italian island protested against the recent increase in the flow of migrants.
About 126,000 migrants have arrived in Italy this year, so far. The figure is almost double the previous year. Lampedusa has borne the brunt recently, with thousands of inflows this week alone, more than the population of the Italian island.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, accompanied by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and other members of the Italian cabinet, pledged to address the issue of migration during a visit to the island of Lampedusa on Sunday.
“Prime Minister Meloni and I are here today to provide a coordinated response from the Italian and European authorities. I want to be very clear. We have an obligation as part of the international community. We have fulfilled this obligation in the past and will do so today and in the future. But we will decide who will come to the European Union and under what circumstances, and not smugglers and traffickers”, said the leader of the European Commission.
In just one day this week, 7,000 migrants arrived on the tiny island. Tensions have risen on the island, which is closer to Tunisia than mainland Italy.
Residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with the large number of migrants on the island. Migrants from North Africa try to reach Europe using the harbors of the island of Lampedusa. Residents say that this action has been happening for decades.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has promised to help Italy to cope with the flow of migrants, although Italy has requested a naval blockade to curb the flow./ VOA
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