"I fully understand the Italians’ concerns: the situation is no longer acceptable. This is why, we are ready to increase our support for Italy not only in political but also in financial and operational areas," Avramopoulos told the Italian Il Corriere della Sera newspaper in an interview.
Avramopoulos noted that it was necessary to divide migrants into two groups: those who need protection and those who do not need it, as it is the only way to make the EU policy on migrants viable.
"However, we cannot reject the commitment of saving lives. The tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea need to be stopped," Avramopoulos added, recalling that the European countries’ budget for combating migration crisis was set to total 2.6 billion euros ($2.9 billion) although the countries have granted only 89 million euros to date.
On Wednesday, local media reported that Italy had warned the European Union it might be forced to shut its ports to foreign vessels that disembark immigrants rescued at sea. Permanent Representative of Italy to the European Union Maurizio Massari described the migration situation as "unmanageable," after Italy has seen some 12,000 migrants come ashore over just a few days.
The world presently faces multiple conflicts forcing people to flee their countries of origin or seek asylum within the national borders. Hundreds of thousands of migrants are still trying to reach European countries using various routes, including via Italy, Greece, Turkey and Balkan states. According to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) report published Friday, a total of 95,768 had chosen the sea route to get into Europe in 2017. The Italian Interior Ministry informed earlier this week that almost 77,000 migrants entered Italy this year, which exceeds 2016 figures by 13.4 percent.