Around 70 migrants landed in Malta on Tuesday after they were rescued in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile European countries are being asked to help Italy, where more than 2,000 people arrived over two days.
Malta’s interior minister confirmed that a group of around 70 migrants was rescued on Tuesday, May 11, by an armed forces patrol boat, but provided no further details. The emergency hotline for migrants in distress in the Mediterranean, Alarm Phone, had reported on Tuesday morning that it had lost contact with about 75 migrants in distress south of Malta.
The reported arrivals in Malta came after more than 2,100 migrants landed on the nearby Italian island of Lampedusa between early Sunday and Monday.
Following the arrivals on Lampedusa, the EU's Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson on Monday called on member states to show solidarity with Italy and support the relocation of migrants. "I know it is more difficult of course in the pandemic times but I think it is possible to manage," Johansson told reporters.
After a joint press conference with Johansson, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, tweeted: "Recent events in the Central Mediterranean prove once more that Europe needs predictable, just mechanisms to deal with refugees and migrants."
But a European Commission spokesperson said Tuesday that despite contacts with several member states on the latest call for relocations, no specific pledge had been received.
Since 2019, EU member states have joined voluntary schemes on the redistribution of migrants. However, they have resulted in relative small numbers of transfers.
Italy to propose deal with EU, report
Italy is meanwhile reportedly preparing to ask the European Union to pay Libya to stop migrants from leaving the country, according to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. A report on Tuesday said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is set to propose the plan to EU leaders at a summit later this month. It would be similar to the EU-Turkey Statement agreed in 2016 aimed at stopping migrants from reaching Europe.
Around 13,000 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea since the start of 2021, up from 4,184 in the same period last year, according to Italian interior ministry data.
With Reuters, dpa