Uncontrolled migration is putting the future of Europe at stake, Italy warns as ... trends now
Italy's hard-right prime minister has claimed that Europe's future is at stake unless the EU can stop the surge of uncontrolled migration across the Mediterranean.
Giorgia Meloni, leader of the populist Brothers of Italy party, made the declaration alongside the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where thousands of irregular migrants have landed on their journeys to Europe.
'The future that Europe wants for itself is at stake here,' Meloni, 46, declared at a press conference on the island.
'The future of Europe depends on its ability to tackle epoch-making challenges of our time and the challenge of illegal immigration is for sure one of them.
She said that Italy could not shoulder the full weight of responsibility for fighting irregular migration: 'We all stake our future on this issue. At the very least we need an EU naval mission against smugglers.'
Italian PM Giorgia Meloni (pictured) said that Europe's future was at stake
She spoke on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where the migrant population far outweighs the local Italian population
'If we don't work seriously all together to fight the illegal departures, the numbers of this will not only overwhelm the border countries, but all of the others,' she warned.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen stood side-by-side with Italy's first female prime minister, and revealed her ten-point immigration support plan to support the island of around 7,000 residents, telling them: 'You can count on the European Union.'
The EU has pledged to move the 8,500 or so migrants that currently live on the island to other parts of the bloc.
It will also step up border surveillance by beefing up Frontex, the EU's border agency, with more equipment.
von der Leyen also vowed to increase migrants' access to legal channels, telling the press conference: 'The better we are with legal migration the stricter we can be with irregular migration'. She added: 'Irregular migration is a European challenge and it needs a European answer. We will decide who comes to the EU and under what circumstance and not the smugglers and traffickers.'
New EU figures have revealed that asylum