Thousands of migrants on vessels from the North African coast landed on Italy's southernmost island this week, sparking a crisis that has rekindled debate over the division of responsibility among the EU nations, AFP reported.
At a press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a visit to the island, Giorgia Meloni said the bloc needed to work together to face the challenges of uncontrolled migration.
It is "the future that Europe wants for itself that is at stake here, because the future of Europe depends on Europe's capacity to face major challenges," Meloni said.
Between Monday and Wednesday, around 8,500 people – more than the island's entire local population – arrived in 199 boats, according to the UN migration agency.
"Irregular immigration is a European challenge that needs a European response," von der Leyen said, calling on other members of the bloc to take in some of the migrants.
The Italian Red Cross, which runs the overcrowded Lampedusa migration centre, said Sunday that 1,500 migrants remained there despite having a capacity for just 400.