Italian Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio has warned that Italy will no longer be accepting illegal migrants in a radical shift for the leftist coalition government.
Minister Di Maio met with Tunisian President Kais Saied this week alongside Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and two European Commissioners. Following the meeting, Di Maio stated that Italy would fully support Tunisia in fighting illegal migration.
Di Maio went on to say that there was no question that those arriving in Italy would be made to leave and added that both Italy and Tunisia were actively engaged in negotiations to “find formulas for bilateral cooperation”, Le Figaro reports.
Italy looks to strengthen political and economic ties with Tunisia and promised financial support to increase jobs in the interior regions of the country to stem the economic incentive for illegal migration.
In the last year, Italy has seen a 150 per cent increase in new migrant arrivals. In the last few weeks, there has been a major surge in migrants arriving on the islands of Lampedusa and Sicily, the vast majority of them coming from Tunisia.
Three-Quarters of Britons See Illegal Migration in Channel as Serious Issue https://t.co/GWxD03nqJA
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 15, 2020
Late last month, it was reported that migrant boats were arriving on Lampedusa every hour on average, with local Mayor Totò Martello threatening to declare a state of emergency due to the large influx.
Just days later, Mayor Martello said that the island had run out of room to quarantine migrants who may be infected with the Wuhan coronavirus. The migrant reception centre on the island, built to accommodate 95 migrants, held at least 950 earlier this month.
Greece, which has also been a hotspot for migrant arrivals, has taken a tougher approach to migrants in recent months, preventing tens of thousands from crossing earlier this year before the coronavirus outbreak.
In recent weeks, the UK has also seen an influx of migrants, and while the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it was considering deploying the Royal Navy to turn back the boats, so far migrants continue to arrive on British shores nearly daily.