Meloni and Von der Leyen in Lampedusa. Thaw with France and Germany

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will be in Lampedusa tomorrow morning, together with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and accompanied by the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson. The confirmation came from Brussels, where attempts were made to include the trip to the Sicilian island in the president’s busy agenda. The message coming from the Community Executive is one of closeness and support for Italy with a quick response to the invitation made yesterday by the Prime Minister. Especially because the alternative for the visit would have been at the end of next week, returning from five days in Nova for the work of the UN General Assembly. The last time Von der Leyen was in Italy was last May, when she went to sites in Emilia-Romagna decimated by floods.

This time, however, the risks are much greater. The powder keg of large flows we are witnessing in the Central Mediterranean – doubled compared to last year – risks destroying relations of solidarity between Member States, fueling dangerous anti-EU sentiment in the run-up to the European elections and of compromising the final approval of the Pact for Migration and Asylum and questioning the agreement with Tunisia, which was intended to be a model to be replicated in other countries. Tomorrow the EU leader will have to explain what stage the implementation of the memorandum is at and why we have not yet been able to see a result. In recent days, European Commission spokespeople have repeated that this is an agreement signed only in July and that it will also take time because Brussels’ bureaucratic procedures must be followed. But many question the wisdom of making a deal with an unreliable autocrat who does not respect human rights like Tunisian President Saied.

The EU guarantees that the 100 million for macroeconomic stability will reach Tunis by the end of the year, in line with normal budgetary procedures, while with regard to the 105 million package for border management and the fight against trafficking in human beings and repatriations, “the projects are currently being defined in close collaboration with the Tunisian authorities”, following the rules and based on ongoing programs. Prime Minister Meloni also expects a response to his proposal for “a European mission, including a naval one, if necessary, in agreement with the North African authorities, to prevent the boats from leaving”. A mission that in any case must be decided by the Member States in the Council. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, also returned to ask for a repeat of the Sophia operation that patrolled the Mediterranean from 2015 to 2020. But also to ask the UN for a more widespread presence in Africa, because “now Africa’s powder keg has exploded , there is a need for international cooperation”, he explains, and “European countries cannot do it alone”. The government also requests that a point on migration be included on the agenda of the next European Council on October 26th and 27th .

A request that will be analyzed by EU ambassadors, given that the summit of leaders had already decided that it would regularly return to the topic with reports from the Commission on the actions carried out. Signs of rapprochement with France and Germany, after the countermeasures taken in recent days regarding relocations and secondary movements, materialized in the phone call between the French Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, with his Italian and German counterparts, Matteo Piantedosi and Nancy Faeser, regarding the influx of migrants to Lampedusa, which was also attended by the Spanish Presidency of the European Council and the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson. From the exchange emerged a common desire to address the issue of migration in a concrete and operational way, with a view to the next EU Justice and Home Affairs Council on 28 September. “We need to give maximum political impetus to carry out a new operational strategy against trafficking in human beings that aims to finally implement concrete initiatives aimed at blocking exits at the source”, declared the head of the Ministry of the Interior.

Source: IL Tempo