News on migration and asylum from around the region - Nouvelles de la région sur les questions de migration et d'asile

Friday, February 20, 2015

[EU] European Commission stands by Italy on coping with migratory pressure on Lampedusa

19 February 2015
Today the European Commission has announced that it is stepping up its assistance to Italy. Firstly, the Frontex Joint Operation Triton will be extended until at least the end of 2015. Secondly, the European Commission has awarded an amount of €13.7 million in emergency funding from theAsylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) to Italy. The European Commission also stands ready to react quickly to any Italian request to increase the resources of Joint Operation Triton. To help Member States prepare for potentially continued high pressure given the ongoing instability in some countries in the Mediterranean neighbourhood, the Commission is also stepping up its surveillance of the implementation of the recommendations of the Mediterranean Task Force and will report back to the March Home Affairs Council on progress made. This comes on top of the support for Italy in dealing with migratory pressures of a total of more than €500 million for 2014-2020.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "As long as there are wars and hardships in our neighbourhood, people will continue to risk their lives in search of European shores. There is no simple solution to this complex problem, but it is clear that there is no national solution. There is only a European solution. We are working hard to prepare a comprehensive approach in a new European Agenda on Migration to be presented this year. In the meantime, we have heard Italy's call and are responding in every way we can, and we are ready to respond constructively if Italy identifies the need to step up Operation Triton's resources."
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission, said:"As we work to tackle the dramatic situation in Libya, we have decided to step-up our partnership with third countries along the main migratory routes as part of our cooperation on the Khartoum and Rabat processes. This should help to dismantle criminal networks of traffickers and smugglers and to give maximum protection to those in need, starting with areas neighbouring crises. Our resettlement efforts have improved and this should help to stabilise refugee communities in third countries, together with the work of the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration."