ID Group Press Release - Statement on the dire situation in Lampedusa

ID Group statement on the dire situation in Lampedusa


In light of the worrying situation created by the influx of illegal migrants to Lampedusa, the ID Group calls for a complete overhaul of EU migration policies, namely the proper implementation of a rigorous asylum policy in accordance with international law, while blocking illegal immigration, ensuring effective border controls, and enforcing an adequate repatriation policy. This is the position of the ID Group after 26 MEPs of the Group have been visiting the island of Lampedusa to observe the crisis situation at the hotspot.


The aim of the visit was to get first-hand experience about the difficulties faced by locals and local authorities in dealing with an unprecedented influx of migrants. These issues include overcrowding, security concerns, social tension and conflict, and an immense strain on resources. The dire situation also has an impact on the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism. 


Although many thousands of African migrants have been arriving at Lampedusa lately, the MEPs found that the hotspot, which only has room for 400 migrants, surprisingly had been entirely emptied of migrants right before the group’s long-planned visit. The MEPs met with the mayor of Lampedusa, the coast guard and representatives from all kinds of organisations in the camp to learn about the situation on the island. Red Cross Italy, responsible for the coordination at the hotspot, confirmed that they mainly receive single male adults. 


The problems at the Lampedusa hotspot highlight the complete failure of the EU’s migration policy and the need to rethink these policies in order to prevent illegal migration, address the root causes of migration, enhance border security, and preserve national sovereignty to decide who has a right to enter the state’s territory.  We have a duty to protect the rights of ordinary citizens and to prevent people from making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.  The only way this can be done is by – 

  • opening asylum application centres outside Europe - no asylum applications shall be lodged within EU borders;
  • shifting the focus of the common European asylum system from migrants to refugees;
  • insisting on a policy of regional placement of refugees close to their countries of origin - asylum centres should be opened in third countries;
  • making funding to third countries conditional upon the effective implementation of return and readmission agreements;
  • ensuring that those illegally residing in Europe are returned to their country of origin;
  • removing all pull-factors that make Europe an attractive destination for economic opportunists, and
  • blocking all illegal immigration while ensuring effective border controls (“no-way policy”).