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HomeE.U.Rishi Sunak and Giorgia Meloni promise to bring down people smugglers

Rishi Sunak and Giorgia Meloni promise to bring down people smugglers

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni pledged today to do “everything possible” to end people-smuggling gangs and cut illegal immigration across Europe.

According to The Times and Corrierre della Sera, the prime ministers urged other European leaders to “act with the same sense of urgency.”

The UK, which had fully withdrawn from the European Union in 2021, signed a series of agreements with several European countries at a summit in Spain on Thursday to work more closely to end illegal immigration by sea.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has refused to put the issue with the arrival of migrant boats across the Channel and the Mediterranean on the official summit agenda, angering both Sunak and Meloni as they seek to address the challenge.

“This is a moral crisis, with criminal gangs exploiting and profiting from the misery of the vulnerable. It is a humanitarian crisis, with shipwrecks of unsafe craft claiming over 2,000 lives already this year. As the prime ministers of Italy and the UK, we are working together to stop the boats and we are calling on others to act with the same sense of urgency.”

The prime ministers stated that their joint focus on the issue was “already delivering results” as countries across Europe “recognise that the current approach is not working.”

On Wednesday, EU states agreed on the final part of a review of rules on the treatment of asylum seekers and irregular migrants, which could make it law by next year’s elections.

Ambassadors from 27 countries struck a deal in Brussels after Italy and Germany settled a last-minute dispute over charities rescuing migrants stranded in the Mediterranean.

The new Migration and Asylum Pact will seek to ease pressure on so-called “frontline countries” such as Italy and Greece by resettling some arrivals in other EU states.

The recent arrival of thousands of migrants from Africa on the Italian island of Lampedusa has fuelled moves to review existing policies. However, Sunak and Meloni are convinced that additional measures need to be taken.

Criminal groups are deploying new tactics to avoid interception, so we need a step change in our response, particularly to smash their supply chains. We’re determined to do whatever it takes.

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