Italy fears that the unrest in Libya will see a flood of Libyan immigrants heading for its shores.
euronews’ Annibale Fracasso met with Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini to ask him how best to tackle a potential influx of people from Libya.
Annibale Fracasso, euronews:
Federal Reforms Minister Umberto Bossi of the Northern League has said Libyan immigrants will be sent to France and Germany. But Italy,and especially Lampedusa, are first in line when they cross the Mediterranean. Where is the EU in all this?
Franco Frattini, Italian Foreign Minister:
Unfortunately, we are still awaiting some answers. We strongly urge Europe to intervene because the matter is not just an Italian or Sicilian question. It affects the whole of Europe. If there are 200,000 (or) 300,000 desperate Libyans heading north, Italy alone cannot cope.
All EU countries will have to solve this problem together. Otherwise, the principle of solidarity no longer exists. That would be a major blow to a fundamental European value. We are working to ensure that this does not happen. We need to work together in this emergency situation.
What will happen over the next five years?
We cannot say. We want to help the transition process without dictating to these countries what to do. Only those who are unfamiliar with the Arab world would believe that if Rome, Brussels or Washington gave advice that it would be followed. It does not work like that.
Italy has a recognised virtue. It does not lecture other countries. It is there to listen and to help. That is the right path to follow.