EU President von der Leyen is scheduled to travel to Italy in response to the increasing number of migrants entering the country.

On Sunday, European Commissioner President Ursula von der Leyen and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will jointly visit Italy’s Lampedusa island. Italy’s right-wing government has urged the European Union to provide assistance in dealing with the increasing number of migrants.

After approximately 8,500 individuals arrived on the island via boat within a short span of three days, Meloni extended an invitation to von der Leyen to visit. The intention behind this invitation from the Italian prime minister was to ensure that the EU chief comprehends the gravity of the situation that Italy is currently confronting. In just one day, a staggering number of 5,000 migrants arrived, further emphasizing the urgency of the matter.

On Saturday, Eric Mamer, a spokesperson for the European Commission, announced online that President von der Leyen has accepted an invitation from Italian PM Meloni and will be visiting Lampedusa tomorrow.

Migrant arrivals in Italy surge

The thousands of migrants who arrived in Lampedusa outnumber the entire local population. They arrived in the span of three days, from Monday to Wednesday, in some 199 boats, the UN migration agency said, overwhelming the island’s migration center, which has a capacity for about 400 people.

DW reports on the state of distress at the migrant center in Lampedusa.

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On Friday, Meloni urged the EU to provide greater assistance, while Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini described the arrivals as an “act of war.”

Lampedusa is Italy’s southernmost island. It lies just a few dozen kilometers off the coast of the Tunisian city of Sfax, making it a regular entry point for migrants crossing over from North Africa.

In July of last year, the European Union reached a deal with Tunisia to reduce the number of unauthorized migrants heading to Europe.

“I cannot reword”

Knaus stated that since the agreement and the increase in human rights violations in Tunisia, there has been a rise in the number of people leaving the country. Consequently, many individuals from sub-Saharan Africa are now inclined to escape to Europe with the assistance of smugglers.

Therefore, the current strategy of the EU is ineffective, and it would be highly beneficial to initiate a genuine and substantial discussion on potential alternatives that could yield positive results.

Pressure eases as migrant transfer from Lampedusa begins

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rmt/sms (AFP, dpa)