Migrants: Italy increases pressure on Europeans

Posted Nov 14, 2022 4:09 PMUpdated Nov 14, 2022, 4:34 PM

Italy cannot be the only gateway to Europe for migrants “, insists Giorgia Meloni, the new Italian Prime Minister. This is what his foreign and interior ministers will keep repeating to their European colleagues this week, and it was to start at a meeting in Brussels of the heads of diplomacy of the Twenty-Seven on Monday evening. Rome is asking its partners for a common solution to “defend” the EU’s external borders and develop an efficient and fair plan for the redistribution of migrants. “Solidarity on this file should not be a simple slogan”, warn the transalpine authorities.

Italy fears isolation

France has asked “Europe to decide very quickly on the follow-up to be given” to the refusal to welcome the ship “Ocean Viking” and its 230 migrants on board. A tone deemed “aggressive, excessive and incomprehensible” by Italy, just like the suspension by Paris of the planned reception of 3,500 migrants currently in the peninsula, or the strengthening of French police controls at the border.

“We have no problem with France and no one wants to throw oil on the fire,” tried to temporize Antonio Tajani, the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in the face of these retaliatory measures. But trust is broken between Emmanuel Macron and Giorgia Meloni. No bilateral meeting is planned on the sidelines of the G20 in Bali and the French head of state is currently only communicating with the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella.

The Turkish example

“Europe must intervene today with a Marshall Plan for Africa and develop a common strategy, otherwise we will soon have to manage millions of migrants,” warns Antonio Tajani. In front of his counterparts in Brussels, he demands the pure and simple abolition of the “Dublin regulation” which until now has made responsible the countries where migrants make their first entry into the EU.

The example to follow is that of the agreement signed with Turkey “, invokes Giorgia Meloni, who abandoned his electoral promise of” naval blockade of the North African coasts “. She now wants the EU to establish migrant centers in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia to identify them and assess asylum applications. They would be cared for by European humanitarian personnel, with the presence of military forces in Libya, still plagued by clashes between militias.

NGOs targeted

Italy also asks for a European regulation for the NGO ships in the Mediterranean which rescued 16% of the 90,000 migrants who arrived this year on the coasts of the peninsula. She wants migrants to be taken care of by the State to which each boat that saves them is attached by its flag. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi plans to show as much firmness as his predecessor Matteo Salvini. NGOs will have to demonstrate that they have saved migrants on a boat in difficulty, otherwise they will be subject to a heavy fine and the seizure of their vessels.

NGOs are taxis of the seas “, castigates Antonio Tajani, relying on a document from the European agency Frontex according to which “the presence of NGOs in the Mediterranean would be a ‘pull factor’” (a factor of attraction of migrants). The UN prefers to evoke a “push factor”, that of the inhuman conditions of the detention centers for migrants in Libya. An opinion shared by the German ambassador in Rome. “NGO ships save lives where state aid is lacking,” he tweeted. Their humanitarian commitment deserves our recognition and support. The German government announced on this occasion an aid of 8 million euros.

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Migrants: Italy increases pressure on Europeans