The Italian government has tentatively considered the possibility of offering €1500 to any Tunisian who agrees to return to Tunisia. Foreign Minister Frattini said that Italy could pay the funds to those migrants willing to leave and that the funds would then be reimbursed to Italy by the EU Commission. The IOM would likely be asked to administer the program. The proposal was immediately and strongly criticised by Umberto Bossi the head of the Northern League and a fellow minister in the Berlusconi Government. Bossi called for the migrants to be returned to Tunisia. A statement posted later in the day on the Foreign Ministry web site said that the proposal would “be activated only in the presence of a full financing on the part of the European Union.”
The situation on Lampedusa continues to deteriorate. There were approximately 1000 new migrant arrivals yesterday. The migrant population on the island is approximately 5000 with 2500 people sleeping rough in makeshift tents made of plastic sheeting.
Click here for brief statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs.