Italy wants the European Union to pay Libya to stop migrant boats leaving its coast, newspaper la Repubblica reported on Tuesday.
According to the newspaper, the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi may propose the scheme to EU leaders at a summit on May 24 and 25. It would be similar to a deal struck with Turkey to halt migrant flows from the Balkans in 2016.
Since the 2016 deal, Turkey is entitled to financial aid from Brussels in exchange for hosting refugees — mostly from Syria — who try to reach Europe from the Balkans.
The report comes on the heels of a recent surge in migrant flows from Libya to Italy. The Italian island of Lampedusa — one of the main landing points for people trying to get into Europe from Africa — has seen over 2,000 arrivals since Sunday, Reuters reports.
The migrants arrived on small perilous boats run by people traffickers. The migrants have reportedly overwhelmed the tiny island’s reception centre and are now being transferred elsewhere in Italy.
Some 13,000 migrants disembarked on Italy’s coasts from the start of 2021 to May 10, up from 4,184 in the same period last year, interior ministry data shows.
The vast majority of African migrants heading for Europe by sea depart from Libya.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: Thomson Reuters