Migration is expected to dominate a high-level meeting of southern European states — including Greece — to be held later in Rome on Wednesday.
Senior figures from Greece, Cyprus, France, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain will gather in the Italian capital for the fourth meeting of the Southern Europe Conference since 2016.
Originally an initiative by Greek premier Alexis Tsipras, the conference will also examine the state of the eurozone economies, investment, unemployment as well as European Parliament elections planned for next year.
However, with migration to Mediterranean states from Africa in particular causing an ongoing security and humanitarian problem for several European countries, including Greece, it seems likely this topic will dominate discussion.
The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported earlier this month that 1,072 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea during the first week of 2018.
Around 450 of these people landed in Greece, which has struggled to cope with the influx of people fleeing war or economic hardship.
Last month the Greek government data claimed just over 4,150 refugees and migrants were transferred from the country’s islands to the mainland between Nov. 27 and Dec. 27.
In the Athens Declaration of September 2016, the seven-nation EU group called for the “protection of its external borders”, the development of “European military capacities and the defence industry” and said it wanted to set up “robust readmission and returns arrangements, advancing legal migration and mobility possibilities and addressing the root causes of irregular migration”.