UK migrants
Reports note that countries opposed to hosting asylum seekers would be required to pay the ones that do take migrants in. Severine KPOTI/Mission Lifeline via AFP

Today, Thursday 5 October, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attended a meeting in Granada, Spain, where he will call on nations in Europe to join forces to crackdown on people smuggling gangs.

At the European Political Community meeting, Sunak also made plans to discuss Russia's recent aggression towards the West and the rising tensions between Russian President Vladimir Putin and NATO.

The meeting sets out to focus on illegal migration and organised crime crossing into Europe.

Since he gained the Prime Minister title in October 2022, Sunak has made his "stop the boats" campaign apparent.

Over the past months, the UK has seen the Conservative government implement a new Illegal Migration Bill that criminalises undocumented asylum seekers, as well as a push for the Rwanda Bill that was ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal in June.

The levels of migration in Europe have increased dramatically since 2021, with reports claiming that the UK net migration has never been higher.

Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that 606,000 people have migrated to the UK in 2022 and 2023, a figure that has been used to criticise the Tory government's promise to ensure "overall numbers come down".

Joining Sunak's battle against migrants is Italy's far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who has backed the decision to make border control a topic of the historic meeting of around 50 European leaders.

Before becoming Prime Minister, Meloni was known for proposing orthodox solutions to the migration crisis in the European Union. Like Sunak, when Meloni came to power in 2022, she promised to curb immigration levels.

But according to government data, arrivals to Italy have almost doubled in 2023.

Reports note that the UK net migration has never been higher.

In September this year, Italy's right-wing government introduced new measures that gave the authorities the power to detain migrants up to 18 months in newly built detention centres.

The authorities in Italy have since penalised NGOs in Germany, which is home to around 15.3 million migrants, for assisting those fleeing war and persecution with crossing the border into Italy.

Recent reports, also show that the authorities in Italy, specifically in Oulx, are turning a blind eye to migrants travelling across the border into France on foot.

Flavio di Muro, the Mayor of Ventimiglia, a small coastal town near Nice, France, declared: "The EU is not working. Each country is setting its own migration limits and Italy has to shoulder the burden alone."

In agreement with Muro, Sunak called for Europe to unite against the rising levels of immigration. The Prime Minister said: "We cannot allow criminal gangs to decide who comes to Europe's shores."

Despite pushing for bills that would cost around £169 thousand to send each asylum seeker across seas, ahead of the meeting, Sunak demanded: "With thousands of people dying at sea, propelled by people smugglers, the situation is both immoral and unsustainable."

At the meeting, sources claim that Sunak will address the evidence that suggests that Russia has deliberately destroyed essential Black Sea shipments - enough to feed more than one million people each year.

Urging Europe to unite at the conference, Sunak added: "When it comes to facing down the threat from Putin... There is strength in unity."

Recently, NATO announced that its weapon stock is at the "bottom of the barrel" and have since called on authorities and manufacturers to quicken the pace to ensure that the group can continue to provide military assistance in Ukraine.

Prior to the meeting, Sunak assured that although migration will be a hot topic at the meeting, he would confirm new allocations of UK humanitarian aid to help Ukraine survive its second winter of conflict.