UK-Italy Collaboration: Halting Immigration At Its Source


A British minister on the route of migrants: today Robert Jenrick, head of Immigration at the Ministry of the Interior in London, arrives in Italy after a visit to Tunisia and Algeria, to then continue towards France, on the beaches from which illegal immigrants embark to England. Since the beginning of the year, more than 7,500 illegal immigrants have crossed the Channel, adding up to the more than 45,000 of last year: an emergency that the government led by Rishi Sunak has decided to counter with a harsh, which provides for the deportation to Rwanda of those who arrive illegally.

Italy is a fundamental element in the British strategy and Jenrick’s visit, who will meet his colleagues from the Italian government, is based on the close relationship that has been established between Sunak and Giorgia Meloni: the spark between the two struck during the visit of our premiership in London, at the end of April, and was consolidated at the G7 in Hiroshima, where Meloni was the leader who made the greatest impression on the British prime minister, so much so that on his return to London he gave specific instructions to all his ministers to work with their Italian counterparts to develop the relationship that has been established between the two prime ministers.

Immigration represents a central chapter, which had already been addressed during the London visit of Giorgia Meloni, who had given full support to the choices made by Sunak. “We want to cooperate as best we can with Italy on this dossier – says Jenrick on the eve of his arrival in Rome -. We have a common interest and a common vision on how to meet the challenge».

When you speak of a common vision, do you mean that you are seeking support from a European country for the deportation policy in Rwanda, which was initially blocked by the European Court of Human Rights? “We have chosen an approach that is appropriate to the challenges we face in the UK. Each European country will have to find an appropriate approach to the particular challenges it faces: we support Prime Minister Meloni in her effort to face Italy’s challenges and recognize how serious they are. Where we want to work together is at the source: that’s where we can make a difference and that’s why I’ve been to the countries of North Africa, as Meloni herself recently did”.

So is it a question of stopping illegal immigration at the origin? “Exact. This is where our two countries can work closely together, using all the means at their disposal: in our case the National Crime Agency (a sort of British FBI, ed), the border police, as well as development policy to support those countries where people embark from, so as to discourage people from leaving and increase the level of security and border control. We Brits can help Italy by deploying our resources in those countries and in turn this will benefit us, because fewer people will pass through Europe on their way to northern France, from where they embark for England.

Giorgia Meloni and Rishi Sunak in Downing Street on April 28th

Do you also expect a political return on the question of Rwanda? «Premier Meloni has already given support to the efforts we are making. We understand that Italy has constraints, but this is a common European challenge: there is a migrant crisis impacting all European countries, responsible European leaders are looking for solutions. We have our answer with Rwanda, which other European countries are watching to see how successful it is in discouraging landings. But the major common area is at the source: we want to deploy all our resources to tackle the crime behind immigration, to support other states – whether they are in North Africa or the Balkans or Turkey – to tackle the organizations criminals and improve border control. Great Britain wants to play an important role for the benefit of all the countries in Europe: and the emerging relationship between us and Italy can bear the best results, for both countries, in intervening at the source of immigration”.

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