EU countries must take up the migration challenge “together” and not “leave Mediterranean countries alone”, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Thursday in Rome after a meeting with Italian head of government Giorgia Meloni.
Scholz’s visit to the Italian capital coincides with EU interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg to discuss reform of the asylum system.
“All those who want to tackle the challenges of migration can only do so together, in the European Union. This is the basis on which we agree. Any temptation to leave the problem to someone else or to point the finger at it is doomed to failure,” said Olaf Scholz during a press conference with Ms. meloni.
It is therefore important that we identify the challenges and at the same time do what is necessary” to solve them, he added.
Giorgia Meloni, leader of a far-right-right coalition, has focused her election campaign in 2022 largely on the fight against illegal immigration but has seen the number of migrant arrivals increase significantly since the beginning of the year.
According to figures from the Interior Ministry, around 52,300 migrants arrived in Italy between January 1 and June 7, compared to 21,200 during the same period in 2022.
Italy, a country of first entry where hundreds of thousands of migrants have arrived in recent years, criticizes its partners in the European Union for a lack of solidarity in the distribution of the latter, even if a large number of them subsequently leave the peninsula for other countries.
“We discussed how Italy, rather alone, travels the Mediterranean to save human lives. Italy is doing an extraordinary job but I think the big challenge is to do this job together” within the EU, Ms Meloni said.
“The real subject is to defend the external borders, to fight against human trafficking, to promote legal immigration. To do all this, it is necessary to involve the countries of transit and origin” of the migrants and “it must be done with investments”, she concluded.
In an interview with the daily Il Corriere della Sera published Thursday morning, Mr. Scholz felt that Italy should “not be left alone” by its European partners in the face of the arrival of migrants from the Mediterranean.
“Italy, Greece and other Mediterranean countries face a huge challenge as the number of people arriving at their borders increases. We cannot leave Italy and other countries alone, we must adopt an approach of solidarity and responsibility,” he said.
This article is originally published on sudinfo.be