Thousands of migrants reached the coasts of the island of Lampedusa. In order to ess the situation, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen is expected to go there on Sunday, accompanied by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Italian Prime Minister Giogia Meloni called on Brussels for help after the influx by boat of some 8,500 people aboard 199 boats, according to figures from the United Nations migration agency, which arrived in three days this week on this small Italian island in the Mediterranean near Tunisia.
A debate relaunched within the EU
The Italian leader also asked Ursula von der Leyen to come to the site to see the situation. She also asked the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to put the migration issue on the agenda of the EU (European Union) summit in October, while announcing that his government intended to take extraordinary measures.
These thousands of migrants were transferred to Sicily on Friday. Images showing thousands of people sleeping in the open, scaling the perimeter fence and wandering around the city of Lampedusa have sparked anger among members of Italy’s far-right government. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called these arrivals “an act of war”.
This migratory surge has revived the debate on the sharing of responsibilities within the European Union regarding asylum seekers. Located less than 150 km from the Tunisian coast, Lampedusa is one of the first stops for migrants crossing the Mediterranean hoping to reach Europe. Every year, during the summer, tens of thousands of them take to the sea on often dilapidated boats, to attempt this perilous crossing in which more than 2,000 of them have already died since January.