Is the EU competent enough to fight human smuggling in 2015?

Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship at plenary session, week 03 2015, during his speak (EP Audiovisual Services, 13/01/2015).

Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship
at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, week 03 2015, during his speach (EP Audiovisual Services, 13/01/2015)

That the European Union is facing its big problem of exorbitant illegal immigration is not news. How can it be in a gigantic region of 28 countries spreading around the Old Continent? And most of all one of the top five coastline lengths in the world with some 70,000 km coasts bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea and the Baltic Sea? The geography of the Union combined with its very high living standards makes Europe number one “wanna live” target for millions of people around the planet who are living under horrible regimes and conditions.

And of course Europe has always showed its humanitarian principles by providing help to the illegal immigrants found on abandoned vessels in the Adriatic, securing them a safe return or provide opportunities for better safer relocations or integration in the European society. One would believe that the EU is highly prepared for this and the mechanism is working like a Swiss watch. But sadly it does not seem to be the case. How else can it be explained that nearly 300 thousand people were caught last year trying to enter illegally the block?

The Commissioner for migration and home affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, revealed the above worrying figure to the European Parliament last Tuesday noting that “in 2014, more than 276,000 migrants arrived in the EU, representing an increase of 138 percent compared to the previous year”. He continued, “Smugglers are finding new routes to Europe and are employing new methods in order to exploit desperate people who are trying to escape conflict and war”. “Better coordination and a more comprehensive approach will help to address the roots of the current flows of irregular migrants and of smuggling,” he also stated.

What is most interesting here is to see what are those new “methods” that the illegal immigrants are using to make it to the Eden of the West, as the movie director Mr Gavras would describe. At the same time what is equally striking is why Europe in 2015 is not able to have the right “methods” to control and resolve the matter properly.

It was in the news earlier this week that thousands of poor immigrants join and organise through social media, to set off for what is for them a gateway to paradise but in reality it is a dangerous often inhuman smuggling of poor souls into rusty containers of Vessels that drift along the gigantic waves of the Mediterranean sea. So, Twitter and Facebook and Whatsapp are used by the victims of human trafficking and the criminal gangs that allure people that live in miserable conditions to embark on what is sadly for some the last trip of their lives. According to the reportage, the ruthless criminals even have price differentiation for “Economy Class” and “First Class” illegal immigrants that equals to a couple of thousand euros for the former, up to 10.000 euros for the wealthier.

Now, with the number of illegal immigration flow getting more than doubled in 2014, one might think that Europe is losing control. And it seems that is true. When Mr Avramopoulos urges for better co-operation what does he really mean? Obviously the number did not reach 138% since his arrival to the Commission in November, but what are the real gaps and how to cover them? It is always nice to throw some stats to the Parliament as food for thought but what is wrong with Frontex and particularly Triton, border policing organisations that the European citizen is annually paying dozens of millions of euros to?

Let’s not go too far. One big hole in the migrant smuggling to the EU was created in November, when Italy, by far number one “smuggling route”, decided to shut down Europe’s greatest search and rescue programme, Mare Nostrum for budget reasons. The programme that was operating for one year and was costing Italy some 9 million euros per month saved about 100,000 human lives in just one year. Now the EU aims to fill the gap via Frontex and its operation named Triton, which costs one/third of Mare Nostrum programme. Does this sound like a huge EU safety compromise?

Triton’s aim is to help Italy battle migrant smuggling and protect people’s lives in the water, by co-ordinating action in 18 Schengen states. The European Commission states in its Q&A on the issue published earlier this week: “The core objective of the Triton operation is to provide assistance to the Italian authorities’ efforts to ensure effective surveillance of the maritime borders and to provide assistance to any person on board a vessel in distress.” However, the EU itself understands that Triton cannot replace Mare Nostrum’s effectiveness and coverage: “However, this operation cannot and does not replace Mare Nostrum”.

Having Mare Nostrum erased from the map, combined with the new social media diffusion of the smugglers and their victims, it is only reasonable to expect that Mr Avramopoulos will come out in January 2016 to publish even worse stats. Europe should invest more time and money in this direction “yesterday”, to be able to have a “healthy” immigration flow inside.

If not, then besides the human lives lost in the Mediterranean sea we will also suffer from an accentuation of the far-right sirens that cause excruciating pain to all democratic European ears. Europe was never xenophobe. Look at France and so many other examples where people of different origins are integrated and living in harmony, despite all differences and cultural diversity.

The EU should not give the chance to Le Pen and the peer to exploit Europeans’ most shameful deep xenophobe B sides; that belongs only to the deep past.



















Featured Stings

Why and how Germany had it again its own way in Cyprus

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

Eurozone examines the prospect of issuing debt paper jointly

Bankers don’t go to jail because they are more equal than us all

China dazzles the world with her Silk Road plan to connect, Asia, Europe and Africa

How can consumers be effectively protected from insurance sellers?

Elections in Europe: No risks for the EU, leaders readying to face Trump-Brexit

Presidents of pan-European youth organisations call upon the European Council to preserve the Schengen principles

Putin becomes the ‘perfect enemy” for the West

ECB reaches the boundaries of its mandate to revive the entirety of Eurozone

Trump’s Syrian hit the softest option vis-a-vis Russia

Love Affair with Some(one)/(thing)

Inegalitarian taxation on labour haunts Europe’s social model

EU Parliament and Council: Close to agreement on the bank resolution mechanism

“Hasta la vista” Google says to Spain and now Europe is next?

Greece @ MWC14: Greek-born mobile champions at MWC 2014

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

Dreaming of China

European Investment Bank to borrow €70 billion in 2013

The implications of Brexit on European business, youth entrepreneurship and junior enterprises.

Inflation not a problem for Europe

The Chinese spirit

Greener economies and investment to reduce unemployment and increase global growth

Catalan Pro-Independence vote: how many hits can Brussels sustain at the same time?

EU Parliament: Follow the fraudulent money and confiscate it

Changing the EU copyright law won’t bring us much closer to Digital Single Market

“None of our member states has the dimension to compete with China and the US, not even Germany!”, Head of EUREKA Pedro Nunes on another Sting Exclusive

Charlie’s tragedy energized deeper feelings amongst Europeans; back to basics?

Inflation keeps falling in Eurozone

Draghi drafts a plan to donate more money to bankers, the era of ‘money for nothin’ is flourishing

Managing and resolving conflicts in a politically inclined group of team members

World Health Organisation and medical students: is there any room for improvement?

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

The European Youth Forum needs better signal for its “call” for Quality Internships

Draghi proposes timeframe for full Banking Union in five years

Volkswagen getting away with it in Europe

Italian voters put again the European Peoples in the Brussels picture

New skills agenda for Europe needs real investment

Deutsche Bank: the next financial crisis is here and the lenders need €150 billion from taxpayers

What has changed in the French politico-economic horizon

Who is to lose from the 6-month extension of the EU economic sanctions against Russia?

Yanis Varoufakis in a Sting Exclusive: “Unsustainable debt turns the creditor into Leviathan; Life under it is becoming nasty, brutish and short”

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

Statement by Cecilia Malmström, Member of the EC in charge of Trade, on the successful conclusion of the final discussions on the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) – Brussels, 08 Dec 2017. (Copyright: European Union; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Georges Boulougouris)

The EU and Japan seal free trade pact that will cover 30% of global GDP

EU imposes provisional anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels

10 months were not enough for the EU to save the environment but 2 days are

Is Erdogan losing game and match within and without Turkey?

Berlin cannot dictate anymore the terms for the enactment of the European Banking Union

Draghi will not hesitate to zero ECB’s basic interest rate

China invites the EU to a joint endeavor for free trade and order in the world

COP21 Breaking News: “There is an ecological debt that the world needs to pay back to Africa”, French President Francois Hollande promises 2 Billion euros by 2020 from Paris

GSMA head urges regulators to help Europe regain leadership

Copyright: European Union , 2017; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Frank Molter

EU hits deadlock on the future of glyphosate a month before deadline

EU’s new sanctions on Russia into force “in the next few days”: strength, weakness or strategy?

CDU-SPD agree the terms for EU’s Banking Union

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital and mobile technologies are helping to achieve an economic success in Spain”, the Spanish Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society Víctor Calvo-Sotelo reveals to the Sting at Mobile World Congress 2015

South Eurozone countries threatened by rising borrowing cost and expensive euro

Refugee crisis update: EU lacks solidarity as migration figures drop

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s