EU chief to visit Italy's Lampedusa amid protests over migrant numbers

EU chief to visit Italy
# 16 September 2023 19:44 (UTC +04:00)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Lampedusa on Sunday, an official said, as dozens of the Italian island's citizens protested over a recent surge in migrant arrivals, APA reports citing Reuters.

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni called on Friday for the European Union (EU) to act jointly "with a naval mission if necessary" to prevent migrants from North Africa crossing the Mediterranean.

Nearly 126,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year, almost double the figure by the same date in 2022. Lampedusa has recently borne the brunt, with thousands of landings this week, more than the island's permanent population.

"President Von der Leyen will be travelling to Lampedusa tomorrow on the invitation of Italian PM Meloni," EU Commission spokesman Eric Mamer said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The interior ministers of France, Germany and Italy and some EU representatives discussed migrant issues during a phone meeting on Saturday, French minister Gerald Darmanin said in a post on X.

Germany has decided to keep taking in migrants and refugees arriving in Italy, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on Friday, two days after it announced the suspension of an agreement with Rome to receive new arrivals.

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