Von der Leyen, the head of the European Union, will travel to Italy in response to the increase in migrants arriving.

On Sunday, European Commissioner President Ursula von der Leyen plans to travel to Lampedusa island in Italy, accompanied by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Italy’s right-wing government has urged the European Union for assistance in managing the increasing number of migrants.

Meloni extended an invitation to von der Leyen to come and see for herself the gravity of the situation in Italy, as around 8,500 individuals arrived on the island by boat within a short span of three days. The Italian prime minister particularly wanted to highlight the arrival of 5,000 migrants in just one day.

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 to visit 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.

On Friday, Meloni urged the EU to provide further assistance, while Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini referred to 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, a greater number of individuals have departed from the country. Consequently, it is evident that a significant portion of sub-Saharan Africans are inclined to seek refuge in Europe by relying on smugglers.

The current strategy of the EU is ineffective, and it would be highly beneficial to engage in a genuine and substantial discussion regarding potential alternatives that could yield positive results.

Pressure eases as migrant transfer from Lampedusa begins

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rmt/sms (AFP, dpa)