EU should promote immigration as a humanitarian issue in order to provide a more permanent solution

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship (1st from the left), travelled to Rome to meet with Angelino Alfano, Italian Minister for the Interior, (1st from the right),with whom he discussed the migration policy. They discussed the many aspects of the European Agenda on Migration, including the immediate response to the migratory crisis in the Mediterranean. (EC Audiovisual Services, Date: 08/06/2015, Location: Rome - Ministry of Interior).

Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship (1st from the left), travelled to Rome to meet with Angelino Alfano, Italian Minister for the Interior, (1st from the right),with whom he discussed the migration policy. They discussed the many aspects of the European Agenda on Migration, including the immediate response to the migratory crisis in the Mediterranean. (EC Audiovisual Services, Date: 08/06/2015, Location: Rome – Ministry of Interior).

Only a few days after the Calais migration incident, a new shipwreck just 10 miles off the coast of Libya caused the death of 25 people while there are still 200 people missing out of the 600 who were on board.

The European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos in a common statement with the First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the Vice-President Federica Mogherini expressed their sadness about the incident.

Last Tuesday, Dimitris Avramopoulos called the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras making known about the need of setting an authority that would gather the EU funds and distributed them accordingly in order to “fight” immigration.

The problem of immigration is continuously testing the ability of the European Union (EU) to find a common solution to this long-lasting and very crucial issue. It will show if the member states that consist the EU are ready to take the respective responsibility to tackle it.

However, the answer to this question is not positive as the European Sting had previously reported with the EU countries to fail meeting the European Commission’s immigration targets and postponed it for the end of 2015.

Is Calais’ incident enough to “wake up” EU?

Apparently not. The recent migration problem that took place in Calais was adequate to reveal the true image of the countries involved. The United Kingdom and France are thinking of building another wall in Calais in order to prevent people who look for a better life from passing from one country to another. Both countries are seeing this as a security problem and not a humanitarian one. Through the use of the EU funds both counties are planning to accomplish it.

Nonetheless, the problem still exists and accelerates. The wooden boat which was sunk two days ago didn’t come as a surprise regardless the efforts of the EU and the EC. It seems that the EC is trying to help the current situation but is doing so without the valuable and irreplaceable help of the EU countries. The latter are either acting selfishly or have greater national problems which delay any efforts against the immigration.

The EC’s contribution is considerable but not sufficient

The EC’s financial assistance is very crucial if the EU wants to tackle immigration. And indeed, this EU institution body has increased the funds given to the organizations (e.g. Frontex) which support the EU against this issue. More specifically, Wednesday’s incident showed that the Médecins Sans Frontières and the Migrant Offshore Aid Station provided relentless efforts to save the lives of the 600 people who were in the boat that capsized off the coast of Libya.

However, the help provided so far is not adequate. A more in-depth solution must be found targeting directly to the causes of the problem. Thus, a more collaborative relationship with the countries of origin of the immigrants must be accomplished as soon as possible, if the EU wants to address immigration at a permanent base.

Dimitris Avramopoulos urges Greece to manage EU migration funds

The “wake-up” call of the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship to Alexis Tsipras shows that Greece has more serious national issues which have led to the delay of the creation of the immigration and asylum service.

Mr Avramopoulos stressed the fact that Greece is missing out at least 500 million euros in EU funds since the aforementioned service has not yet established which would be responsible for the management of this funding.

The negotiations with the EU institutions for the avoidance of a Grexit has taken almost all the attention of the Greek government the past months which worsened the situation in matters like the one of immigration. However, the Greek Prime Minister is planning to change the current situation by calling an emergency meeting on the issue.

EU worries more about immigration

The Eurobarometer survey conducted last week showed for the first time that 40% of the EU citizens find immigration the biggest problem within the bloc. This result reveals that a great part of the EU population worries more about immigration than unemployment or the economy’s situation.

Consequently, the people are crying out to the EU leaders and institutions to find a solution that would ease this migration crisis. The only thing that the governments of the member states have to do is listen and proceed to a collaborative policy that will face once and for all the migration phenomenon.

All in all, there is still much to be done on this issue in order to truly promote our European values and ideals that will reveal this as a humanitarian problem that will unite people and not the opposite.

Follow Chris on Twitter @CAnyfantis

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