The nations of Greece and Italy made a joint request on Wednesday for a European-Union-wide solution to the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis which the two nations have faced for some time.
Following a meeting held between Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Rome, the two leaders agreed that this is a challenge that the EU must address collectively.
Prime Minister Conte said that the refugee and migrant issue is something that needs to be dealt with ”centrally” from Brussels, noting that it is crucial for refugees to be equally distributed across all the nations of the EU, and for migrants to be returned in an orderly manner to their countries of origin.
Conte also declared that this should be the number one priority of the new European Commission, which officially takes office this Sunday, December 1.
On his behalf, Greek Premier Mitsotakis highlighted the fact that both Italy and Greece have been equally tested by this issue of refugee and migrant influx, noting that Greece is handling numbers of migrants which have ”exceeded several times the nation’s capabilities.”
For this reason, the Greek Prime Minister noted that Athens cannot — and should not be forced to — handle this issue on its own anymore.
Italy and Greece are the two EU member states with by far the highest numbers of refugees and migrants arriving on their shores. These southern Mediterranean nations form the geographical gates of Europe for all those who are migrating from different countries in Asia and Africa.