A number of European politicians arrived in Lampedusa for a day-trip on September 27 to assess for themselves how the huge influx of migrant arrivals was being handled.
Twenty-six right-wing Identity and Democracy (ID) Group MEPs made the visit to gain first-hand experience of the situation on the Italian island, located just over 100km from the African mainland.
Following the trip, the MEPs called for “a complete overhaul of EU migration policies”. They demanded the “proper implementation of a rigorous asylum policy in accordance with international law, while blocking illegal immigration, ensuring effective border controls and enforcing an adequate repatriation policy”.
They further stated the Lampedusa issue marked “the complete failure of the EU’s migration policy”.
In a press release on September 28, the MEPs said that when they arrived at the “hotspot”, they noted it “had surprisingly been entirely emptied of migrants right before the group’s long-planned visit”.
The MEPs said they met the mayor of Lampedusa Filippo Mannino, Coast Guard officials and representatives from several other organisations.
Among those, they heard from the Red Cross of Italy, responsible for the co-ordination of arrivals on the island, which confirmed that it “mainly receive[d] single male adults”.
Belgian MEP Tom Vanddendriessche said in a video he posted on X that there was “free WiFi and free phone chargers” for the migrants.
The arrivals were subsequently put on “controlled transport towards Italy and then of course they reach Belgium, where they can settle themselves directly and comfortably in our social security system”.
“This migration model by the EU causes trouble for everyone,” he said. “For us and for those people.
“We need a new paradigm on migration. Shelter needs to happen by definition in their own region and our borders need to be protected, rather than what is happening now: NGOs who help them cross the sea and the European Union who welcomes them with taxpayer money.”
Another of the Lampedusa delegation, Italian MEP Marco Campomenosi, said: “Europe cannot continue to look the other way and pretend nothing has happened; promises and announcements must be followed by concrete facts, immediately.
“Sicily and Italy can no longer be left alone and Lampedusa must be on the pages of newspapers as an extraordinary international tourist destination, not as a symbolic place of the emergency,” he added.
L’Europa non può continuare a guardare dall’altra parte e fare finta di niente, alle promesse e agli annunci devono seguire fatti concreti, subito. La #Sicilia e l’Italia non possono più essere lasciate sole e #Lampedusa deve essere sulle pagine dei giornali come straordinaria… pic.twitter.com/KAOFA5wmZE
— Marco Campomenosi (@MCampomenosi) September 27, 2023
The ID Group stated: “The problems at the Lampedusa hotspot highlight the complete failure of the EU’s migration policy and the need to rethink these policies in order to prevent illegal migration, address the root causes of migration, enhance border security and preserve national sovereignty to decide who has a right to enter the state’s territory.”
The MEPs concluded with a series of propositions, inspired by the Australian stance on migration termed the “no way policy”.
That move successfully ended mass migration toward the Antipodes nation and stopped people making perilous trips by sea.
— Identity and Democracy Group (@IDGroupEP) September 28, 2023