ROME: Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has called for the EU to draw up “clear and adequately financed” plans for the handling of Mediterranean migration routes.
Speaking to the Italian Senate, he said it was essential that the issue was addressed at the European Council meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.
The premier urged the EU Commission to present “clear action plans, adequately funded, and addressed with equal priority to all routes of the Mediterranean,” starting with the one between Italy and the shores of North Africa.
He said the EU should, “pay attention to the specificity of maritime borders and the effective political stability of Libya and Tunisia.”
A diplomatic adviser to the prime minister’s office told Arab News: “Without a proper stabilization of those two countries, no action can be effective. This is why PM Draghi at the upcoming European Council meeting will call on the EU to play a primary role.”
Draghi pointed out that during the summer, Italy had continued to meet its international rescue obligations in protecting migrants at sea. “We did it with humanity and in order to defend European values of solidarity and hospitality.”
Since 2014, nearly 23,000 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe, according to the UN’s migration agency.
More than 49,000 migrants have reached Italian shores so far this year, said the country’s Ministry of Interior, almost double the number arriving over the same period last year.
Referring to the refugees, particularly those coming from Afghanistan, Draghi said that “Europe should do more. It should follow the model of the so-called humanitarian corridors.”
Addressing the Italian senators, Draghi added: “I intend to propose that the commission must update the heads of state and government in each European Council on the degree of implementation and advancement of commitments undertaken.
“Only in this way will we be able to answer to our parliaments, and above all our citizens, on the progress made at European level, and of what still remains to be done.”