“Portugal, in the past, made a commitment within the scope of the [European] voluntary solidarity mechanism. We have always expressed our solidarity and availability to welcome migrants when these situations occur”, said the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Tiago Antunes.

Speaking to the Portuguese press in Brussels at the end of a General Affairs Council, which took place days after the European announcement of a new plan to face the migratory emergency in the European Union (EU), the government official added: “Faced with the great pressure that is occurs or when there is a shipwreck, our attitude is always one of solidarity and willingness to welcome, within the framework of this voluntary solidarity mechanism”.

The Secretary of State did not provide numbers, reiterating: “Naturally, we have already expressed our availability to welcome some people”.

For Tiago Antunes, “there are very big challenges” in the migration issue, and “we need to put an end to the business of human traffickers” and “create regular and safe migration channels”.

Last Sunday, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented, in Lampedusa, an action plan to combat irregular immigration and stated that "Italy can count on the European Union", following the arrival of more than 10,000 migrants to that location - more than the population of the closest Italian island to Africa - in just three days.

The 10-point action plan includes expanding EU naval missions in the Mediterranean or creating a new one, faster repatriations of people whose asylum claims are rejected and humanitarian corridors for legal arrivals.