Rome has announced a package of measures to curb illegal migration. But that will only make the situation worse, says the President of the Italian Refugee Council, Roberto Zaccaria.
In the past few days, thousands of refugees from the coast of North Africa have landed by boat on the Italian island of Lampedusa. The reception center on the small island between Tunisia and Malta was sometimes completely overcrowded. The number of people seeking asylum in Europe has risen sharply again this year. According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, 129,869 migrants have been registered so far, around twice as many as in the previous year.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Lampedusa together. Von der Leyen promised Italy the support of the EU and, among other things, promised increased deployment of the border protection agency Frontex. The right-wing populist government in Rome has now decided on tougher measures against immigration. The military should set up special deportation detention centers. The duration of detention was increased from 12 to a maximum of 18 months in order to give the authorities more time to examine asylum applications and, in the event of a rejection, to enable deportation directly from detention.
Meloni has made tightening immigration laws her central issue and is calling for EU solidarity. The President of the Italian Refugee Council, Roberto Zaccaria, accuses the government of being short-sighted. Only when Italy itself has a capable system of reception, asylum procedures and repatriation can it expect support from the EU.
Mr. Zaccaria, has the arrival of boats with refugees recently pushed Italy to its limits?
At first glance, yes. But we have had much higher numbers in recent years. We just didn’t notice it because the recording worked better.
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I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.