It was following a telephone conversation between Emmanuel Macron and Giorgia Meloni that the Elysée announced Gérald Darmanin’s visit to Italy “in the coming days”. The Minister of the Interior will meet his counterpart Matteo Piantedosi there to discuss the situation on the island of Lampedusa, where thousands of migrants have arrived in a few days, overwhelming local reception structures.

The Head of State and the head of the Italian government committed during their meeting to “strengthen cooperation at the European level (…) to find effective, immediate and longer-term solutions to this crisis”, specified the Elysée. Emmanuel Macron and Georgia Meloni also spoke of “joint action” which could be carried out by Paris and Rome in the Mediterranean, added the French presidency, without further details.

Between Monday and Wednesday, around 8,500 people, more than the entire population of Lampedusa, arrived aboard 199 boats, according to figures from the United Nations migration agency. The migrant reception center built on the Italian island is planned for fewer than 400 people. This migration crisis has been the subject of intense diplomatic activity for 48 hours.

Emmanuel Macron defended a “duty of European solidarity” with Italy while Berlin has just suspended the voluntary reception of asylum seekers from this country due to “strong migratory pressure” and the refusal of Rome to apply European agreements.

“The time has come first for solidarity with Italy, and also for the mobilization of the European Union,” said French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Saturday during a telephone conference bringing together the Ministers of the Interior French, Italian and German.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will travel to Lampedusa on Sunday, at the invitation of Georgia Meloni who, at the head of a right-wing and far-right coalition, denounces migratory pressure ” unsustainable” for his country.