Rome, August 5 - The European Union will continue to support Italy and particularly Lampedusa as the southern port community absorbs waves of immigrants, European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said Monday. "I really hope that all efforts at the EU level will reduce the pressure on Lampedusa," Malmstrom said in an interview with ANSA. "We know very well that Lampedusa is struggling and is under strong pressure, in particular in this period," the commissioner added. "I admire very much the way local authorities deal with the situation..but we recognize that we can not wait and allow Lampedusa to do this good work alone". Waves of immigrants, many from north Africa, are arriving in the port city which is one of the most southern in Italy. Pope Francis visited there recently to draw attention to the plight of immigrants and the number that die each year making the perilous sea crossing. Malmstrom said the EU has offered Italy "substantial financial support" through migration management funds that reached 232 million euros in the 2010-2012 period.
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di Giovanni Pastore