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Germany says “no more migrants from Italy!”

The liberal FDP (Renewal), the junior partner in Germany’s tripartite coalition, will crack down on attempts to resettle refugees from the island of Lampedusa in Germany. The party’s general secretary made the announcement on Monday as Italian Giorgia Meloni made a U-turn from a “nationalist” approach and now seeks a European solution to the problem, according to Euractiv.

A reception centre for illegal migrants on an Italian island has been overcrowded in recent weeks. According to reports from the Italian Red Cross, there are currently 1,500 people in the camp, which has a capacity for only 400 people. A total of 129,869 migrants have landed in Italy since 1 January 2023.

The Italian government has sent some migrants to the Italian mainland. On Monday, the FDP denied that Germany would accept arrivals from Lampedusa. Bijan Djir-Sarai, an MP and general secretary of the FDP, told reporters in Berlin:

“[The FDP] doesn’t want to accept refugees from Lampedusa in Germany, and that’s our expectation towards the Ministry of the Interior as well.”

Djir-Sarai warned that if the FDP’s position is reversed, “there will be problems within the coalition”. For now, however, the SPD-led interior ministry appears to be accepting the refusal to help Italy with migrants.

Berlin suspended the selection of new migrants for resettlement from Italy due to tensions between Rome and Berlin over irregular migration, although Germany and Italy had previously agreed on a voluntary solidarity mechanism. The ministry cited Rome’s refusal to take back migrants from Germany who were first registered in Italy.

The EU is currently discussing a migration pact that would include the relocation of 3,500 migrants from Italy to Germany.

However, Nancy Faeser, federal minister of the interior and community, briefly caused confusion on Friday when she told the public broadcaster ARD that Germany would “stand by its solidary commitments“ vis-a-vis Italy. Meanwhile, Djir-Sarai has called on Brussels to tackle the increasing pressure from irregular migration. He claimed:

“We have to improve overall border security in the EU. That this would take time as the task had been “left for years”.

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