As protests for democratic reforms take place in Tunisia, Libya, and other North African states, Italy has noted its concern that illegal immigration from the region could peak as a result. According to the Financial Times, Italy has received about 6,000 migrants from Tunisia alone since protests began there last month. Most of these have landed on the island of Lampedusa, where residents fear that unrest in Libya could send thousands more across the Mediterranean Sea.
Italy currently has an agreement with Libya that provides for joint patrols of known migration routes, as well as expedited repatriation procedures.
Italian desires to prevent a surge of Libyan immigrants have resulted in a less harsh tone towards current violence there, a sharp contrast to the reactions of other EU member states.
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