Letta warns Italy won't compromise on migrants
EU 'can't look on' when faced with disasters, says premier22 October, 15:17
(ANSA) - Rome, October 22 - Premier Enrico Letta said Tuesday that Italy would not accept "cut-price compromises" at this week's summit of European Union leaders, at which he will raise the issue of the Mediterranean migrant crisis. "Europe, because of its history and its deepest, noblest roots, cannot look on at such tragedies," Letta told the Lower House referring to this month's two migrant-boat disasters near to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa in which over 400 people died.
"If it does, it dies".
Letta said his government will demand four commitments from the EU at the summit on Thursday.
They are: acceptance that the situation in Lampedusa is a European problem; immediate measures to implement the Eurosur surveillance programme and beef up the activities of EU border agency Frontex in the southern Mediterranean; a plan of action to manage the migrant crisis; and dialogue with countries on the southern side of the Mediterranean. Lampedusa is the main port of entry into Europe for migrants smuggled by boat from Libya or Tunisia.
Each year, thousands of people make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean in often rickety and overcrowded vessels.
Letta said the upcoming summit would be "an opportunity to talk about a different Europe" after many debates in the Italian parliament "in which we have talked about Europe being consumed by its contradictions and having lost its soul".