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Thursday, December 7, 2023

High EU official heads to an Italian island battling migrant inflow as Italy toughens stance

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MILAN — European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen plans to journey Sunday to the Italian island of Lampedusa, which was overwhelmed with hundreds of migrants arrivals this week, on the invitation of Italy’s premier, who is asking for a naval blockade of North Africa.

Von der Leyen’s spokesman, Eric Mamer, confirmed on Saturday that she would make the journey on the invitation of Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni.

Tensions on the small island had been rising Saturday, as each residents and migrants chafed on the lengthy wait occasions to switch folks from the crowded reception heart to the Italian mainland. About 7,000 migrants arrived on Lampedusa from Tunisia this week, and the Purple Cross mentioned that 3,800 remained on the island on Friday. Media stories indicated that was all the way down to about 2,000 on Saturday.

Residents gathered within the heart of city Saturday to protest plans to place up a tent metropolis on Lampedusa, and demanded a gathering with a Sicilian regional regulation enforcement official. A consultant informed the official that islanders have run out of endurance after three a long time of dealing with arrivals.

In the meantime, footage aired by SKY TG24 confirmed police utilizing shields to stop migrants contained in the reception heart from surging to the gate. Elsewhere, migrants sat alongside a roadside wanting fatigued within the warmth, ready for a switch.

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Migrants continued to reach Saturday, however in far smaller numbers. They included the physique of a new child, who reportedly was born throughout the crossing. The mom was being handled at a clinic on the island.

Meloni on Friday vowed “extraordinary measures” to cope with an inflow of migrants, calling anew for a naval blockade of North Africa and saying that Europe wants a “paradigm” change to cope with points pushing migration, together with battle, instability, hovering grain costs and local weather crises.

“Clearly, Italy and Europe cannot welcome this huge inflow of individuals, particularly when these migrant flows are being managed by unscrupulous traffickers,” she mentioned.

Many of the migrants arrived from Tunisia, regardless of an EU accord with the North African nation to stem smuggling operations in alternate for financial support.

The disaster is inflicting tensions in Meloni’s authorities, as the top of the League, Matteo Salvini, has raised his criticism on the EU-Tunisia deal.

As Meloni hosts von der Leyen in Lampedusa, Salvini on Sunday has invited French far-right chief Marine Le Pen to an annual League rally within the northern Italian city of Pontida.


Observe AP’s protection of world migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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