Telegraph: UK and Italy plan partnership to tackle immigration across Mediterranean News
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Telegraph: UK and Italy plan partnership to tackle immigration across Mediterranean

The UK and Italy have plans to create a strategic migration partnership to tackle the increasing number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, according to an exclusive report from the London Telegraph on Friday. This partnership, modeled after the current agreement between UK and France, seeks to strengthen collaboration in combating human trafficking, exchanging intelligence and coordinating joint efforts involving border fences and national crime agencies.

With the partnership, the UK seeks to support Italy’s efforts to engage in negotiations with Tunisia to establish an agreement for the return of migrants, as Tunisia currently serves as a significant source of migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the UK has contributed £860 million to an aid package backed by the EU, aiming to assist Tunisia in addressing and reducing the influx of arrivals. These actions are a response to mounting concerns over a substantial rise in the number of migrants reaching Italy this year, with figures nearing 62,000 compared to the 28,808 recorded during the corresponding period last year.

The UK government previously expressed apprehension that the notable increase in arrivals to Italy could potentially result in a corresponding rise in migrants attempting to cross the English Channel. Public debate regarding UK immigration figures spiked again this past week due to a Court of Appeal ruling on the UK’s Rwanda plan. The court rejected the government’s plan to remove illegal immigrants from the UK to Rwanda as “unlawful.” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak swore to appeal the ruling to the country’s highest court, despite fierce pushback from human rights organizations.

Giorgia Meloni, Italy’s far-right Prime Minister, has played a prominent role in advocating for migration measures like those employed by the UK, such as detention and repatriation centers for faster deportations of illegal migrants. She has also urged the EU to adopt Rwanda-style agreements to reduce illegal migration throughout the bloc.  Italy has prioritized relationships with source countries like Tunisia and Libya, aiming for a comprehensive EU-wide approach based on similar principles.

A UK Home Office report from June 26 acknowledged Italy’s success in reducing migrant crossings from Libya through financial aid and bilateral relationships. Within one year, Libya reducing the number of crossings from its shores from 181,700 to 38,400.

Countries along the Mediterranean and North Africa corridor have received international attention due to the recent capsizing of an immigrant ship off the shores of Greece. Greece declared the tragedy one of the biggest in its waters, and Pakistan claims that at least 300 Pakistani nationals on board the ship died.