Berlin and Rome bicker over migrants

Germany stopped taking in refugees from Italy at the end of August citing Italy's refusal to take back migrants who arrived in Europe via Italy and then travelled on to other countries, as it is obliged to do under EU law. Rome counters that it already has too many refugees: more than 7,000 people arrived on Lampedusa on Tuesday and Wednesday alone. Commentators are concerned by several aspects of the issue.

Open/close all quotes
Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Time for action, not pointless muscle flexing

Corriere della Sera says Rome needs to change its tone:

“In Brussels, we must negotiate and avoid flexing one's muscles vis-à-vis partners by fuelling a battle that can't end well. In Rome, we must ask for the cooperation of mayors and governors in distributing the migrants throughout the country and recognising the status of those who meet the criteria. Only if we really get the migration crisis under control and guarantee rights can we also insist on those who arrive assuming their duties. And achieve the distribution throughout Europe that has been invoked for years but never realised.”

La Stampa (IT) /

And the EU remains silent

La Stampa is annoyed by Brussels' passivity:

“The point is that a new migration crisis is breaking out in Europe, and the EU once again has no response. The crisis is not yet on a scale comparable to that in the summer of 2015, nevertheless the number of refugees arriving this year is setting alarm bells ringing. ... And the climate of mounting political tensions between Italy, France and Germany does not bode well. Yet listening to Ursula von der Leyen's 70-minute State of the Union speech, you would think nothing was happening. ... No direct reference to the events of the last few days. Not a single reference to the central Mediterranean route, which has now become the main gateway to Europe through which 114,000 people arrived in the first eight months of this year.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Meloni can't keep her promises

The Tages-Anzeiger comments smugly:

“For years Giorgia Meloni promised that a government under her leadership would put an end to illegal migration across the Mediterranean. Sea blockades, consistent deportation of irregular immigrants, a crackdown on smugglers, the confiscation and sinking of NGO rescue ships - Meloni and her party Fratelli d'Italia owe a large part of their extraordinary rise to power to such pledges. Against this backdrop, it seems almost ironic that 4,500 refugees arrived on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa in a single day this week. And that the number of crossings on the so-called central Mediterranean route has more than doubled compared to last year.”

Liberal (GR) /

Facing a new South-North conflict

The news website Liberal is concerned:

“The invasion [sic] of migrants in Lampedusa is as frightening as Europe's inability to deal with it. ... Migration will put European governments under increasing pressure and lead to tensions. The Meloni government's refusal to take in asylum seekers who are in Germany but entered the EU via Italy (under the Dublin procedure Italy, as the 'country of arrival', is responsible for reviewing their applications) and Berlin's tit-for-tat response of ceasing to take in migrants who are currently in Italy are just the beginning, according to analysts in the Italian media. We are facing a new South-North confrontation.”