Rome (ANSA) – A possible increase in migrant landings this summer is worrying the government in Rome. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni made that clear to the premier of Libya’s interim government of national unity, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. While expressing appreciation for the efforts put in place by Tripoli so far, she said “it is essential to intensify efforts in the field of human trafficking”.

In the first five months of 2023, 52,328 people landed in Italy, up from 21,000 in the same period last year and 15,000 in 2021. In March 2023, the count stood at 8,155, about the same as in June 2022, before the surge to almost 17,000 last August. The government is concerned that the trend will be similar or more serious in the coming months. Uncertainties linked to Tunisia are weighing heavily. Meloni recently visited Tunisia and could return in a few days with Ursula von der Leyen to continue the mediation between Tunis, the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and unblock financial aid to the country which is on the verge of default.

The other area of ​​serious instability is Libya, where Italy also has significant interests in the energy sector. “The stabilisation of Libya and its political framework is a priority for Italy, for national security and for energy diversification”, Meloni reiterated to the Libyan leader. They also discussed “the importance of holding Libyan presidential and parliamentary elections as soon as possible, also with the mediation of the United Nations and the UN Representative Bathily.Abdoulaye Bathily is the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. (June 7, 2023).

EU and US envoys visit Belgrade and Pristina

Brussels/Belgrade (Tanjug) – The Special Representative of the European Union for dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Miroslav Lajčak, said violence was never acceptable and that it was urgently necessary to find a political solution to the current crisis in northern Kosovo. He emphasized that he appreciated Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić’s willingness to contribute to that.

Lajčak announced that he and the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, had long talks with Vučić in Belgrade about the complex situation of the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija. The Serbian presidency said in a statement after the meeting: “Vučić reiterated the full commitment of the Republic of Serbia to the process of dialogue with Priština, to achieving compromise and sustainable solutions for a better life and relations between Serbs and Albanians, and as a key demand he underlined the security of our people in Kosovo and Metohija”.

Vučić also reiterated his insistence on the full implementation of the Brussels Agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, first and foremost the formation of the Union of Serbian Municipalities, and called on the international community to engage more with Pristina to achieve that, the statement said. (June 7)

International cooperation to reform the Albanian electricity sector

Tirana (ATA) – Albania, Germany and France signed a financial cooperation agreement that will contribute to the second phase of support for the reform of the Albanian electricity sector. The agreement was signed in Tirana on June 6 by the Albanian Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku, and the ambassadors of France and Germany, Elisabeth Barsacq and Peter Zingraf. The State Secretary at the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Niels Annen, was present at the signing.

International partners are supporting Albania in the transformation of its energy sector with a loan of 100 million euros. Deputy Prime Minister Balluku emphasized that the partners appreciated the commitment of the Albanian Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy to carrying out this challenging reform. She said the measures had brought the sector into line with EU requirements and parameters.

Balluku pointed out that the financial agreement will contribute to the second phase of support for the Albanian electricity sector, which has been hit by economic problems in the last year stemming from the energy crisis in the wake of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. “Last year we imported significant quantities to avoid power outages for all customers, so we were exposed to the crazy prices of the worldwide electricity market”, said Balluku. (June 6, 2023)

Scholz cautious on idea of European army – Von der Leyen supports it

Berlin (dpa) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has expressed reservations about the idea of ​​a European Union army. “We should first do what is pending now,” Scholz said in Berlin at the “Europe Forum” of broadcaster WDR. First of all, it was necessary to strengthen European cooperation in arms production to make it more efficient, he said, adding that security in Europe could only be guaranteed through trans-Atlantic cooperation. “I am firmly convinced that it is about strengthening trans-Atlantic cooperation and NATO.”

EU Commission President Ursula von Leyen, on the other hand, supported the idea of ​​an “army of Europeans” at the event. “A lot of member states are naturally in NATO. It’s good that we have NATO,” von der Leyen said. “But NATO is not everywhere. And there are certainly scenarios where the European Union is called upon. And we have to be in a position to take action.”

The big and difficult question was who would take the decision to deploy a European army, she said. “Aa lot of discussion is still needed.” Von der Leyen said she had great respect for the responsibility one shouldered when sending men and women to crisis areas. “It has to be supported at the European level, but also at the national level, because it can be a matter of life and death.” She emphasised: “Such thoughts have to be refined and deepened, but the direction is right.” (June 6, 2023)

This is a compilation of the European coverage of enr news agencies. It is published Tuesdays and Fridays. The content is an editorial selection based on news by the respective agency.