Britain, Italy agree on ‘comprehensive’ migrant approach

David Cameron and Matteo Renzi announce they agreed migrant crisis needs better approach among EU members, as British PM promises to help Italy struggling crisis

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday his country would help Italy to resolve Europe’s migration crisis by providing staff and other supports.

Cameron’s remarks came during a joint press conference after a working lunch with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the World Expo in Milan.

The British prime minister said the two countries agreed on the need of a better approach to the migrant crisis which caused a deepening rift between EU member states and Italy.

"We need a comprehensive approach that sees a new government in Libya, that goes after the criminal gangs and where we work with you [Italy] and your intelligence fusion cell in Sicily where we will be putting in people and resources," Cameron said.

"We need a comprehensive approach to every aspect of this, particularly trying to break the link between taking people off boats in the Mediterranean and getting settlement in Europe."

The European Union had stopped to fund Italy's Mare Nostrum rescue mission last year which left the country alone with a flow of migrants and refugees who were directly coming from the war-torn or insecure countries of the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Consequently, Italy decided to ask the EU to set up a refugee processing camp in Libya where hundreds of refugees and migrants have been attempting to cross into Italy and then further north to the Western Europe, said the Italian prime minister on Sunday.

Cameron’s empathy on the issue was welcomed by Renzi, who is also under domestic pressure over the migrant issue as well as the growing opinion that Italy has been abandoned by its neighbours and EU partners.

During the press conference with Cameron, Renzi said the migrant issue is not only an Italian problem.

"We know there are different approaches in the European Union but I think we have the same values [and agree] this problem is a European problem," said Renzi.

“There was a fundamental convergence of views that this problem has to be solved at its roots, in Africa.”

The Italian prime minister also commented on the Britain’s planned in-out referendum on EU membership, which is due to take place in 2017 as Cameron pledged during his 2015 election campaign.

"For us it is a priority the UK can continue to work inside the European Union because a European Union without the UK is impossible," said Renzi.

"So we will discuss in the next months about this point."


TRTWorld and agencies