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Italy: future of Europe is at stake

The Italian Prime Minister believes that unless the EU can stop the flow of uncontrolled migration across the Mediterranean, Europe’s future is at risk, according to DailyMail.

Giorgia Meloni, leader of the populist Brothers of Italy party, made the announcement alongside European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the Italian island of Lampedusa, which now hosts thousands of illegal migrants bound for Europe. Meloni declared:

“The future that Europe wants for itself is at stake here. The future of Europe depends on its ability to tackle epoch-making challenges of our time and the challenge of illegal immigration is for sure one of them.”

Meloni noted that Italian authorities could not resist the illegal flow of migration on their own. She added:

“We all stake our future on this issue. At the very least we need an EU naval mission against smugglers. If we don’t work seriously all together to fight the illegal departures, the numbers of this will not only overwhelm the border countries, but all of the others.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen backed Meloni and revealed her ten-point immigrant support plan to support the island, which is home to about 7,000 people. She told them:

“You can count on the European Union.”

EU authorities have promised to place 8,500 migrants from the island in other EU countries. The EU border guard has already been reinforced with additional equipment. Von der Leyen also promised to establish legal ways to migrate, saying at a press conference:

“The better we are with legal migration the stricter we can be with irregular migration. Irregular migration is a European challenge and it needs a European answer. We will decide who comes to the EU and under what circumstance and not the smugglers and traffickers.”

Meloni believes a €785 million (£676 million) migration agreement between the EU and Tunisia is necessary. This agreement would help return migrants to their countries of origin and reinforce the coast guard with new and better equipment.

The German government later reinstated the programme after von der Leyen and European Council president Charles Michel intervened. European attitudes toward migrants have worsened after a sharp increase in the number of migrants crossing the central Mediterranean into Italy. Twice as many migrants have arrived in the EU through Italy this year as last year, nearly 128,000. Half of all illegal EU border crossings recorded by Frontex are in Italy.

The EU predicts that more than one million people will apply for asylum this year alone. In 2015, 1.2 million asylum claims were lodged in the EU, which plunged the continent into crisis as more and more EU citizens were driven to hardline anti-immigration parties.

In 2015 EU authorities could not cope with the massive influx of migrants. Hundreds of migrants died as a result of the migration crisis. The bodies of many of them were found frozen in refrigerated vans, on the wreckage of overturned boats and on beaches.

Last September, the world was shocked by a photo of the body of two-year-old Syrian refugee Alyan Kurdi dumped on a Turkish beach after a failed attempt to reach Greece. Following the incident, EU countries came under scrutiny for not doing enough to prevent migrant deaths. However, just two weeks later, Hungary established a hard border with its neighbors Serbia and Croatia to increase border security and prevent illegal migrants from entering.

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