Migrants on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where more than 8,000 people arrived this week. Photo: Elio Desiderio/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Germany will stop accepting migrants from Italy under the EU's relocation plan, in a major blow to European unity amid rising numbers of arrivals from the Mediterranean.
Failure Berlin is creating a standoff after Italy backed it out of a deal to return migrants who originally landed on its coast.
“Given the current high migration pressure on Germany, the continued suspension of transfers in Dublin by some member states, including Italy, reinforces the serious challenges that Germany currently faces in terms of reception and accommodation capacity,” the German interior ministry said.
The incident comes as boats carrying asylum seekers lined up to land on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, the gateway to Europe, on Wednesday.
The continent is seeing a record number of border crossings, which could be exacerbated by natural disasters in Libya and Morocco.
Giorgia Meloni, Italy's far-right prime minister, is under enormous pressure as more than 8,000 migrants arrived on the country's shores in just three days this week.
Adding to the sense of crisis, France announced it would significantly increase police and army patrols along its border with Italy amid a surge in the number of migrants attempting to cross into France. According to Gérald Darmanin, France's interior minister, the number of clandestine border crossings has increased by 100 percent.
Migrants awaiting processing on Wednesday on Lampedusa, the gateway to Europe. Photo: Elio Desiderio/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
The arrival of so many migrants in such a short period of time constitutes an “act of war” against Italy, Matteo said. Salvini, deputy prime minister and transport minister.
He said he was convinced the huge influx of refugees was a deliberate strategy to destabilize Italy, although he would not say who might be behind such a plot.< /p >
“I am convinced that there is a plan behind this, some degree of control,” he told the Foreign Press Club in Rome on Wednesday evening.
“If in a few hours more than 100 boats arrive, this is not something spontaneous, this is an organized, military action. The problem affects not only Lampedusa, because then they go to Rome, Milan, Turin, Naples, Palermo, which leads to sad consequences.”
Italian intelligence services tried to find out why there was such a surge in cases. arrivals from North Africa, he said.
124,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Italy this year, compared with 65,000 in the same period last year and 41,000 in the corresponding period in 2021.As Italy struggles to absorb such a large number of arrivals, Berlin announced on Wednesday it was halting a scheme to accept migrants from Italy under the European Solidarity Mechanism, a move that is likely to lead to a new rift in migration policy within the EU.
Italy 'turns away' returning migrants
The scheme aims to ease pressure on frontline states such as Italy, Greece and Spain, which are the first point of arrival for migrants.
Germany was supposed to accept 3,500 asylum seekers, but this has not yet happened. of just 1,700 people, including 1,000 from Italy, and has now suspended admissions “until further notice.”
Under the so-called Dublin procedure, migrants must remain in the first EU country they arrive until they asking for asylum. If they are traveling to another country, they should be returned to the first point of entry.
But the Germans said Italy had stopped accepting such returned migrants “for a while.” If Rome begins to respect the rules again, the solidarity mechanism could be reinstated, Germany says.
Berlin also claims it has its own problem with unauthorized migration, with more than 15,000 migrants arriving in August alone. up from 11,000 in July.
The sun-drenched island of Lampedusa, located between Tunisia and Sicily, has been accustomed to migrant arrivals for years, but this summer the numbers are particularly impressive.
About 2,000 migrants arrived on Monday, 5,000 on Tuesday and more than 1,000 on Wednesday. They were from Guinea, Ivory Coast, Tunisia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Syria, Cameroon and Mali.
Child drowned after falling overboard
Small boats carrying migrants lined up to disembark at the Lampedusa island pier. harbor.
The island's reception center has a capacity of 400 people, but this week it had to accommodate up to 6,000 people.
Because of the huge number of them arriving, Italian authorities are trying to get them off the island as quickly as possible, transporting them by ship to ports in Sicily or the Italian mainland.
The baby is reported to be a five-month-old baby. drowned on Wednesday after falling overboard from a boat at sea. The tragedy occurred when the migrants on board the boat rushed to the side when they saw an Italian coast guard vessel approaching to rescue them. The child's mother and 46 other asylum seekers were rescued.
When she came to power last fall, Ms Meloni promised to limit the number of migrant boats arriving in Italy from North Africa and even talked about introducing a “naval blockade.”
In cooperation with the EU, it signed an agreement with Tunisia in July to try to stop the exodus, but these efforts have so far shown no signs of success.
Given current trends, the overall The number of arrivals this year is likely to match or even exceed the peak recorded in 2016, when 181,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean.