EU: Turkey agreement worsening immigrant crisis in Italy

BRUSSELS, Apr. 14 (MNA) – Irregular migration towards Italian territory through Central Mediterranean increased as a result of the European Union (EU) agreement with Turkey in order to close the path through Greece, a top-level official said Wednesday.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, said on Wednesday that the EU must urgently increase its cooperation with Italy as well as Malta, which has also been affected by the new situation, in order to avoid the crisis becoming worse.

The bloc recently signed a deal with Ankara to return to Turkish territory immigrants and refugees who arrived to Greek islands since last March 20th, in an attempt to reach other European nations though the Balkans.

A report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) released only 10 days before the implementation of the agreement revealed that in the last week; only 1,578 refugees arrived in Greece, which represent a 70 percent decrease.

However, a total of 3,421 people arrived to Italian coasts in the same period, which evidenced that Italy was replacing Greece as the main destination.

In the first quarter of 2016, 18,357 immigrants arrived in Italy coming from Libya, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and other African nations, according to statistics released by the International Organization for Migration.

Tusk stressed that the use of this alternative way tends to increase and described as alarming the accumulation of immigrants in Libya ready to come to Europe over the next days through the Central Mediterranean.

 

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News Code 115817

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