As of early September 2023, the Italian island of Lampedusa has seen a rapid increase in migrant arrivals from North Africa. Following Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s invitation, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Commissioner responsible for migration, Ylva Johansson, visited the island on 17 September. Together, they presented a 10-point plan to reduce irregular migration and provide immediate EU assistance to the Italian authorities, in accordance with fundamental rights and international conventions.
‘We have an obligation as part of the international community. We have fulfilled it in the past, and we will continue to do so. But we will decide who comes to Europe and under what circumstances, not the smugglers.’
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, 17 September 2023
The 10-point plan for swift EU support to Lampedusa, as presented by the President of the Commission, will:
- Reinforce support brought to Italy by the European Union Asylum Agency (EUAA) and the European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex);
- Support the transfer of people out of Lampedusa;
- Step up returns and increase Frontex’s presence in the area;
- Support the prevention of departures by establishing operational partnerships on anti-smuggling with the countries of origin and transit.
- Step up border surveillance at sea and aerial surveillance, including through Frontex, and explore options to expand naval missions in the Mediterranean;
- Take measures to limit the use of unseaworthy vessels and actions against people-smugglers;
- Increase the operational support provided by the EUAA, to apply swift asylum and return procedures;
- Increase awareness and communication campaigns to disincentivise Mediterranean crossings, while continuing to offer alternative pathways to the EU;
- Step up cooperation with the UNHCR and the IOM;
- Implement the EU-TU Memorandum of Understanding.
During her visit, President von der Leyen underlined that ‘migration is a European challenge that requires a European solution.’
The Commission presented measures for long-term migration and asylum management in September 2020, in its New Pact on Migration and Asylum. Its aim is to create fairer, efficient, and more sustainable migration and asylum procedures for the EU. The Pact should clarify responsibilities, procedures and ensure decent conditions for people arriving in the EU. Its main principle is a common EU approach based on solidarity, responsibility, and respect for human rights. In June, EU Home Affairs Ministers reached a political agreement on the Pact. The European Parliament and EU Member states are now discussing the definitive version of the proposed measures.
The Commission’s role in managing migration is to propose measures to create a common and effective migration and asylum system for the EU. It also dedicates funds to enhance national capacities, improve migration management procedures, promote a strong and effective external border management and fight networks of people-smugglers.
- Publication date
- 19 September 2023
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs