The Canary Islands will receive more immigrants than Lampedusa in 2023. In the first nine months (up to September 14), around 15,000 Africans reached the archipelago, 98 kilometers from the Moroccan coast, 5,000 more than the small Italian island had to endure so far.
The pressure on the country is proportional to Lampedusa’s small population (6,000) compared to the two million in the Canary Islands. However, the parallels between both areas are very similar, as both have become entry routes for the illegal influx of people from Atlantic Africa and the Maghreb. Meanwhile, Germany and France are closing their doors to illegal immigrants.
There was excitement in Lampedusa this Sunday. A group of Lampedusa citizens blocked the convoy in which the President of the European Commission was traveling. Ursula von der Leyen and the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni shortly after leaving the airport.
The islanders staged a confrontation that, after a few moments of tension, forced the two leaders to get out of the car to speak to the citizens. «We’re tired of the catwalks“, he claimed Giacomo Sferlazzo at the head of the procession. “This problem doesn’t just depend on me, but I give it a face Meloni replied.
Thousands of migrants from Libya arrived in Lampedusa this week, reigniting the delicate debate over the division of responsibilities in the European Union.
The migration emergency on the island is the most critical since the start of the Boat and Cayuco crisis. In a single attack by human traffickers, 120 boats arrived in Lampedusa at the same time and headed for the port of Favaloro.
Meloni warned that the migration emergency would affect the entire EU: “This massive influx of immigrants we are facing requires the commitment and responsibility of everyone to combat illegal emigration. Otherwise, the numbers of this phenomenon will first overwhelm the border states and then all others.”
“Italy can count on the EU” Assured the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, when presenting a 10-point action plan to address the migration emergency: “Migration is a European challenge and needs a European response and solution. These are concrete measures that bring about change on the ground; “We can only achieve this through solidarity and unity and we can count on the EU.”
Around 127,000 migrants have entered Italy so far this year, almost twice as many as in the same period in 2022.
On Friday evening, Giorgia Meloni described the migration pressure on her country as “unbearable” and called for the migration issue to be put on the agenda of the EU summit in October.
Located less than 150 kilometers from the Tunisian coast, Lampedusa is one of the first ports of call for migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Every year in the summer tens of thousands of them go out to sea in improvised boats.
On the other hand, Germany announces that it will suspend the voluntary admission of asylum seekers from Italy. A decision that is justified by the current “strong migration pressure”.
In parallel, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin expressed his willingness to strengthen the border between France and Italy to prevent the arrival of irregular migrants.