Germany plans to take in migrants from Italy under the new EU solidarity mechanism, which seeks to reduce pressure on southern and EU border states.
Germany is planning to take in the first group of migrants from Italy this month, under a new EU regulation. "Germany is planning to start redistributions from Italy this month," said a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Berlin when asked by the German Press Agency, dpa. "The necessary talks on site are ongoing," she added.
It would be the first admission under the new EU solidarity mechanism. On June 10, 2021, countries agreed on the mechanism to relieve southern countries like Italy from increasing pressure to accommodate refugees and migrants. This includes taking in people or providing support in the form of cash or in-kind benefits.
So far, 13 countries have agreed to take in more than 8,000 people, a spokeswoman for the EU Commission said last week. Germany propooses taking in a total of 3,500 people.
Italy still seeing high numbers of migrant arrivals
More and more people are arriving in Italy via the dangerous route across the central Mediterranean, with many reception centers struggling to stay at capacity.
On Monday Italy's nonpartisan Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese credited the French EU presidency with a distribution of a larger number of refugees, as well as the European Commission in Brussels, she said. The country has been demanding more help from the European Union and other member states for years. She pointed out that now, for the first time, the EU's principle of solidarity was supported by a "very large number of Member States."
Five Mediterranean countries including Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Italy and Spain, have long called for a more evenly distributed reception of people who are often picked up in the Mediterranean by private rescue organizations.
However, until now, not only did these five countries end up taking in the majority of arrivals to the EU by dint of their geographical location, but under the Dublin treaty, they were also often expected to accept returns, if it could be proven by other countries that a migrant or asylum seeker had registered in one of the Mediterranean states first.
Immigration key issue in upcoming Italian elections
The general election, which will be held in Italy on September 25, following Italian prime minister Mario Draghi's resignation last month, could see a more hardline approach to immigration in the country.
An alliance between three right-wing parties is tipped to win, including Giorgia Meloni's far-right Brothers of Italy, Matteo Salvini's far-right League (Lega Nord), and Silvio Berlusconi's conservative Forza Italia along with several minor centrist allies.
Reuters reported that the conservative alliance is leading opinion polls, benefiting from divisions among opposition parties, with Meloni's party set to win the largest proportion of votes.
The issue of irregular migration has been weaponized by the political right in the run up to the elections, and has triggered a wider debate on racism in Italy following the recent killing of street vendor, Alika Ogorchukwu, in the central Italian town of Civitanova Marche.
Meloni has used anti-immigration rhetoric to propose extreme measures to stop migrants reaching Italy, including a naval blockade by the Italian navy along the north African coast.
Reacting to Meloni's proposals, former house speaker Laura Boldrini, from the Democratic Party (PD) tweeted: "Meloni, do you know that under international law [that would be] considered an act of war?"
"Do you know that more ships would be required than the navy has? Do you know the number of dead would outnumber those rejected?"