Feeling its refugee problem wasn't being addressed by the EU, Italy issued six-month visas to incoming African refugees, allowing holders to enter other countries in the Schengen zone of visa-free travel.
Refugees from North Africa have flooded the island of Lampedusa
The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.
Italy protests after France blocks trains in migrant spat
Germany tells Italy to 'solve its own problems' in Tunisian refugee row
Should Europe drastically reduce immigration?
I think that other EU countries should help with the influx of North African refugees, as small islands like Malta and Lampedusa simply cannot provide the basic needs for so many thousands of people. -- Denise , Malta
Europe should drastically reduce immigration for the simple reason that immigration is draining the emerging democracies of North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa of the youth and skills that those countries must have in order to successfully develop and for Europe to invest in them. This would also make it possible for many of those who have already immigrated to Europe to return to their home countries and, because of their experience of life in Europe, be able to accelerate the development process in the emerging democracies. -- Charles , United Kingdom
Italy does not have the right to unilaterally grant Schengen freedom-of-movement visas carte blanche to illegal migrants simply because the migrants have shown up. That is an open invitation to more illegal immigration. Italy must deport the migrants back to their home countries. It should not require Tunisia's "permission" to send people on one-way flights back to their own country. Third-country nationals must also be sent home. It does not make sense that they "cannot be deported." EU asylum laws must be changed. The current laws represent a threat and burden to the people of Europe, which politicians have no right to allow. Europe must learn to say "No." -- Victoria , US
Don't listen to the bleeding heart liberals that think Europe should open their arms (and pocketbooks) to these illegal immigrants. Before you know it, they will be bringing their entire family and they will be totally dependent on the social welfare systems to provide them housing, food and free education. Sweden has admitted that their ideals of multiculturalism have failed as the immigrants have failed to blend in to their society. -- Keith , US
Would you agree with the German interior minister that it is first and foremost an Italian problem?
Definitely not. I don't agree with the German interior minister. The problem is humanitarian, and the whole European Union should stand together. -- De Marco , Canada
It is downright sickening to watch the haggling of the foreign ministers on how to deal with the crisis. They are trying to saddle the horse the wrong way. A plan to pull Tunisia (or any other Arab country) out of their economical malaise would keep the people at home. You have to swallow the bitter pill (like Ireland and Greece), but that's the only way. Help them get on their feet and don't try to send them back and keep them in their misery. Cure should be the watchword. -- Alfred , Mexico
Should EU countries chip in to help with the refugee crisis?
Yes, of course! EU countries should chip in to help with the refugee crisis! After all, Italy, Cyprus and Malta are part of the EU. But I believe Germany should reinstate border control, if only in fairness to those of us who try to get valid visas but were denied due to doubts about returning to the home country. These illegals never had it so good! They just board a boat and presto - they're on their way to Europe - Gratis et amore! -- Rodrigo , Philippines
Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Nancy Isenson