Italian Premier Mario Draghi during his speech in the Italian Lower House ahead of the European Council meeting
Italian Premier Mario Draghi during his speech in the Italian Lower House ahead of the European Council meeting

Italian Premier Mario Draghi has announced Europe should commit itself to encouraging legal migration channels, following the model of humanitarian corridors. He stressed the need for "truly European management" of migratory flows.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi called for a unified European management system of migrant flows, speaking in the Italian Senate on Wednesday ahead of a meeting at the European Council.

"Even countries concerned with so-called 'secondary [migration] movements' recognize the importance of preventing and containing undocumented flows and incentivising legal migration channels instead," Draghi said, adding that in order to strengthen legal migration Europe needed to commit itself more, following for example the model of the so-called humanitarian corridors.

Draghi also called for "rapid" and "clear action plans," which are adequately financed and aimed at addressing migration flows for all Mediterranean routes with equal priority, including the southern route, which is used by migrants coming to Italy.

In order to prevent the dangers of irregular migration, Draghi said that the European Union must also pay attention to the specificity of maritime borders and [support] the effective political stability of Libya and Tunisia."

Warm welcome rather than cold shoulder

Draghi continued his speech, saying that the Italian government's own approach "must be balanced, efficient and humane." He stressed the issues of national security, Italian unity and social cohesion:

"It must be efficient in two ways: in protecting national borders from undocumented migration and migrant trafficking, and also efficient in reception. To turn migrants into brothers, we need to know how to welcome them well and with a sense of the importance of being Italian. If not, we won't manage to welcome them and we will make enemies of them. And we have made enemies of them," he said critically.

"This summer, Italy continued to face its international obligations of rescue at sea and guaranteeing international protection to those with the right to it. We did so with humanity, and to defend the European values of solidarity and welcoming," he highlighted in his speech, adding that this year's current figures showed nearly a doubling of migrant landings compared to the same period last year:

"As of 19 October, there were 50,500 arrivals - compared to 26,000 last year. About 87,500 people arrived in the European Union from the Mediterranean by land and by sea, with about 49,000 in Italy," he accounted. He also addressed the subject of migrant deaths at sea:

"On the Central Mediterranean route since the start of the year through 11 October, approximately 1,106 people have died."

Speaking also in the Italian Lower House, Draghi said that migrants get to enjoy a "real reception if it brings integration, and real integration only if it brings work - otherwise it is assisted survival, which is bad for them and a dishonor for us."


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