Alfano says Italy needs more EU help
Regulations now mean too many migrants for Italy, says Alfano08 October, 20:19
Italy's deputy prime minister spoke outside meetings of European Union interior ministers where the issue of migrants was discussed in the wake of a shipwreck last Thursday morning off the Italian island of Lampedusa.
More than 300 are missing and feared dead while 155 people were rescued. Alfano, who is also Italy's interior minister, said that under the present rules, Italy is struggling under the weight of enormous numbers of migrants who are rescued at sea as they arrive in emergency situations.
Northern European countries, in contrast, see migrants arriving overland, he said.
And the EU's current refugee rules, established in the Dublin Convention, require applicants to lodge their asylum claim in the first EU country they enter - placing strains on Italy.
Alfano also called on the EU to adopt a strong action plan to help Mediterranean members cope with migrants.
"A European action plan is needed," Alfano said.
"The EU has to be more involved in saving human lives. We are in the middle of the Mediterranean, we have saved thousands and thousands of people," he added. "Now we are asking for the EU to give us a hand with the reinforcement of the border controls". Between January 1 and September 30 this year, 30,100 migrants reached Italy on boats from North Africa, the UN's refugee agency UNHCR says.