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Refugees on the pier in the port of Lampedusa

Photo: IMAGO/Alessandro Serrano' / Avalon / IMAGO/Avalon.red

In view of the mass arrival on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, the German government wants to continue the voluntary admission of migrants from Italy. It had only recently been stopped.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) told ARD on Friday that the voluntary admission procedure had been suspended "because Italy has shown no willingness to take people back by way of the Dublin procedure". She immediately added: "Now, of course, it is clear that we are also fulfilling our obligation of solidarity."

Originally, Germany had promised to take over 3500 asylum seekers from particularly polluted countries at Europe's southern borders. So far, 1700 asylum seekers have been transferred via the so-called voluntary European solidarity mechanism so that they can go through their asylum procedure in Germany.

On Wednesday, the ministry said that further admissions were no longer planned, also because there is a problem with the readmission of migrants according to the so-called Dublin rules. These rules stipulate that, with a few exceptions, asylum seekers must submit their application in the first EU country where they were registered. Anyone who tries to do so in another state can be sent back there. A spokesman had said Rome had been informed that the selection process for migrants would be postponed.

Prime Minister Meloni invites von der Leyen to Lampedusa

After the arrival of so many boat migrants in recent days, Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has invited EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to the Mediterranean island. The EU politician should visit Lampedusa together with Meloni "to make herself personally aware of the seriousness of the situation in which we find ourselves," said the right-wing politician in a video message in the evening.

Meloni called on the European Union to help prevent migrants from crossing the Mediterranean. If necessary, the navy must be used to prevent migrant boats from leaving, she said in her video message. She promised a crackdown on the increase in arrivals, especially on the small island of Lampedusa.

Since the beginning of the week, several thousand boat migrants have reached the small island between Sicily and North Africa. On Tuesday alone, more than 5000,6800 people arrived – more than ever before in a single day. At times, the reception center was overcrowded with around <> people. Due to its proximity to the Tunisian coastal city of Sfax, Lampedusa has been one of the hotspots of migration to Europe for years. The island's city council declared a state of emergency on Wednesday in view of the aggravated situation.

Italy has been ruled by a right-wing alliance led by the ultra-right Meloni since October 2022. The politician promised to limit migration to Italy. So far, it has not been able to fulfill its election promise. According to figures from the Ministry of the Interior in Rome, around 127,200 people (as of 15 September) have come to Italy on boats since the beginning of the year – in the same period last year there were around 66,200.