Scholz promises solidarity over asylum policy on visit to Italy

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has assured Italy of solidarity in taking in refugees ahead of his visit to Rome.
Italy, Greece and other EU states on the Mediterranean are facing a major challenge because of the rising number of refugees arriving there, Scholz said.
“And we must not leave Italy and the others alone with this, but pursue an approach of solidarity and responsibility.”
Scholz also campaigned for an agreement on a fundamental reform of the European asylum system.
“We need a solidarity-based distribution of responsibility and competence between EU states.
“We also need compliance with standards for asylum seekers in asylum procedures and integration in EU states.”
Scholz left for Rome on Thursday morning to meet Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
It is the chancellor’s first visit to the Italian capital since the leader of the radical far-right Brothers of Italy party took over the government in October.
Meloni paid her inaugural visit to Berlin in February.
At that time, Scholz had declared that he also wanted to cooperate closely with the new government in Rome, saying the action plan on deepening relations already agreed with the previous government would be completed unchanged.
Meloni, who had sharply attacked Germany as an opposition politician, also struck a conciliatory note.
The talks on Thursday are likely to focus on the Russian war against Ukraine, but also on EU issues including European asylum policy.
Parallel to Scholz’s trip, the interior ministers of the European Union are trying in Luxembourg to initiate a major reform of the European asylum system.
This involves a much more rigid approach to migrants without prospects of staying and an obligation to support the particularly burdened member states at the EU’s external borders, which includes Italy.
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