Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Paolo Gentiloni sent a letter today to the European Union urging deeper commitment to the ongoing emergency in the Mediterranean region.
The letter was addressed to High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans and the other six Commissioners scheduled to meet on 4 March to discuss immigration.
After reiterating “the sense of shock and frustration spreading among both the Italian public and the parliament in response to a new and tragic accident of immense proportions off the coast of Lampedusa”, the minister underscored, “the complexity of a phenomenon—that of migration—that is showing no signs of weakening; on the contrary, rescues at sea thus far this year are up 58% over 2014”.
“It is therefore, more urgent than ever that the EU respond adequately by increasing solidarity and shared responsibility at European level”.
“Italy”, the minister continued, “considers the recent launch of Operation Triton, on November 1st 2014, a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, we feel the European Union must do more in terms of money and the concrete availability of aircraft and ships”.
“The urgency of the new challenges”, Gentiloni concluded, “forces us, as we asserted at a joint meeting of EU foreign and interior ministers in Rome on 27 November of last year, to place the question at the top of the European agenda”. Finally, the minister underscored “Italy is fully willing to make its contribution to this reflection and to share its experience”.