Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni joined forces in Rome on Saturday, expressing a shared commitment to addressing illegal migration.

During their formal talks and a speech by Sunak at a Brothers of Italy party gathering, the leaders announced a collaborative initiative to financially support the voluntary repatriation of migrants from Tunisia, a key departure point for those seeking to reach Europe.

Despite facing criticism for their respective policies, including Sunak’s plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda and Meloni’s efforts to restrict charity rescue ships, the leaders emphasized their determination to halt migrant boat landings. Downing Street confirmed their agreement to co-fund a project aligned with existing UN initiatives, aiming to assist migrants returning from Tunisia to their countries of origin.

Sunak praised the strong relationship formed with Meloni since both leaders assumed office in October 2022. Drawing parallels to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, he urged for a level of “radicalism” to effectively address mass migration, warning that failure to do so would overwhelm their countries’ capacities to provide assistance to those in genuine need.

The leaders pledged to intensify efforts against people smugglers, highlighting the importance of credible deterrents. Sunak cited the successful deal with Albania, resulting in a 90 percent reduction in Albanians arriving in the UK via small boats. Meloni’s recent agreement with Albania to establish centers for asylum seekers faced temporary blockage by Albania’s Constitutional Court but was expressed with confidence by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama during the leaders’ meeting on Saturday.

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