Austria refused to ask other European Union countries to accept illegal immigrants from Italy on Tuesday following the surge in arrivals at Lampedusa.
Since Sunday, more than 2,000 illegal immigrants, primarily from Africa, have arrived by boat on a small island off the south coast of Italy, overwhelming its reception center.
On Monday, EU NKVD Ilva Johansson urged Member States to show solidarity with Italy and support their relocation. EU officials said Tuesday that they had not yet received a pledge from the country to accept one of them.
Austria did not. “Austria has a very clear direction. [of the Lampedusa immigrants] “The whole of Europe is not an approach that brings a solution,” European Minister Carolyn Edstaedtler said in Brussels.
She added that the EU should rather support the people of Africa directly, while at the same time sending a message that not everyone who arrives in Europe can stay there.
Lampedusa was one of the major landing points for people entering Europe from Africa, with their latest arrivals being transferred to other parts of Italy.
The EU of 27 countries has been fiercely discussing migrants since 2015, when more than one million Syrian, Iraqi or Afghan refugees arrived at the border.
According to UN data, arrivals last year dropped significantly to about 95,000, most of them in Italy, Spain and Greece.
In 2019, Italy agreed with other European countries on plans to redistribute migrants after they arrive.
However, its voluntary plan did not provide a stable solution, and Hungary and Poland refused to participate, so the cross-EU agreement to address the issue proposed by the Commission last September was ratified. not.
The Italian government denied a report by the La Repubblica newspaper on Tuesday requesting the EU to pay Libya, where the majority of African refugees traveling by sea depart, to stop migrant vessels from leaving the coast.
Brock signed such a contract with Turkey in 2016 to stop the flow of immigrants from the Balkan Peninsula.
“At this time, there is no initiative to create a similar deal,” said an official at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Officials said the EU needs to pay more attention to the situation in the South Mediterranean and be ready to provide financial assistance to all African countries involved in the flow of immigrants.
By Sabine Siebold