UK and Italy to build on cooperation to stop migrant crossings

25 Apr 2024 02:27 PM

The Home Secretary met Italian counterparts and other key figures in Rome to discuss tackling the migrant crisis. Both countries agreed to step up efforts across Europe and Africa.

The UK and Italy have pledged to build on their strong cooperation to stop illegal migrant crossings to Europe.

The Home Secretary, James Cleverly, met Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi in Rome on Tuesday (April 23) to discuss the work that both countries are doing to stop the viability of crossing routes through the Western Balkans and North Africa.

The ministers said that, while coordinated action had shown good promise, both sides would step up efforts and do more in source and transit countries.

Both leaders praised the joint working of law enforcement agencies in tackling organised immigration crime, including work to break up supply chains for small boats. They pledged to push forward further action to disrupt the networks of people smugglers. 

They also discussed how both countries would continue to look for innovative solutions. The Home Secretary updated on the UK Government’s Rwanda scheme while Italian Interior Minister Piantedosi spoke about Italy’s deal with Albania to process asylum seekers.   

The Home Secretary also thanked Italy for its leadership on migration through its G7 Presidency and the Rome Process.

The Home Secretary also visited the small island of Lampedusa, which, last year, was the busiest migration hotspot in Italy, with around 110,000 migrants landing there.

He went on a police vessel to understand how they conduct activities against migrant smuggling and was given an operational briefing on how agencies respond to mass landings. 

At a reception facility he spoke to the International Organisation for Migration, the International Red Cross. The Home Secretary was shown the medical centre, family accommodation and the registration office at the site. 

On Tuesday the Home Secretary visited the General Command of the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. 

He was shown the state-of-the-art technology used by the Italian Coast Guard during complex search and rescue operations. 

The Home Secretary thanked the Italian Coast Guard for preserving life at sea and praised the joint working between UK and Italian authorities.