Sunday, September 24, 2023

EU chief promises ‘action plan’ as Italy sees surge of asylum seekers

(Al Jazeera Media Network) The European Union has presented a plan for Italy to help it handle arrivals of migrants and refugees after a record number of people landed on its island of Lampedusa over the past week.

The surge in asylum seekers arriving on the Italian island has rekindled a fierce debate in Europe on how to share responsibility for the tens of thousands reaching the continent each year.

“Irregular migration is a European challenge, and it needs a European answer,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit to Lampedusa on Sunday, offering a 10-point “action plan” to help Rome deal with the crisis.

She stressed that the better the EU gets at managing legal migration, the “stricter” it can be with irregular migration.

“We will decide who comes to the European Union and under what circumstances, and not the smugglers and traffickers,” von der Leyen said at a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.

The EU chief said she had already spoken to several EU leaders about the plan and was confident of their support.


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