Refugee crisis update: EU lacks solidarity as migration figures drop

Press conference by Dimitris Avramopoulos, Member of the EC, on migration
Date: 12/07/2017 Location: Brussels – EC/Berlaymont
© European Union , 2017 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: Jennifer Jacquemart

There has been a significant decrease in July in the number of refugees reaching Italy through the Mediterranean according to data released by the Italian interior ministry last Thursday. The report shows that 11.192 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean last month; only half compared to June’s and last July’s figures.

Are migration crisis figures going to continue dropping in the Mediterranean? Is the attempt of Italy together with the Commission’s action plan working? The truth is that it is too early to judge and to make any conclusions. All EU member states together with the EC must continue fighting in order to control the flows of migrants in Europe.

Italy’s plan to slow down migration flows

The Italian parliament approved last week a naval mission in order to help the Libyan coastguard control human traffickers together with the number of immigrants crossing the Mediterranean.  More specifically, the Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti stated last Tuesday that “(We will) provide logistical, technical and operational support for Libyan naval vessels, helping them and supporting them in shared and coordinated actions”.

However, this action was not left unanswered by the head of rival forces to Libya’s U.N-backed government.  General Khalifa Haftar complained that the vote violated the country’s national sovereignty and threatened to repel “any naval vessel that enters national waters without permission from the army.”

Border management in Libya

The EU Trust Fund for Africa adopted on July 28 a €46 million programme in order to support integrated migration and border management in Libya. The latter comes after the European Commission proposed a plan to deal with the refugee flows along the Central Mediterranean Route and its goal is to enhance the capacity of the Libyan Border- and Coast Guards which will lead to more effective management of its borders.

Vice-President Federica Mogherini stated on the issue: “Security and stability in Libya are key for the Libyans, the region and Europe, and they come also by better managing the borders and strengthening the resilience of the population. While we keep working to a political solution to the political crisis in the country, that brings peace and reconciliation, we also continue to support the communities and the Libyan authorities, also in their capacity to address the migration flows, rescue migrants, making sure that human rights are respected, and fight against the smuggling networks. This new programme is part of our comprehensive approach: increased border management will go hand in hand with the work we are doing on the sustainable socioeconomic development of local communities, as well as protection, assisted voluntary returns and reintegration of migrants”.

Poland is not accepting migrants

It was last June when the European Commission brought a lawsuit against Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary for refusing to accept refugees under the 160,000 relocation scheme. The foreign Polish minister mentioned that the above scheme is violating the EU treaties when interviewed with RIA Novosti. More in detail, Witold Waszcykowski  said: “We do not want to participate in the mandatory process of relocation of migrants coming from the Middle East and Africa.”

This stance reveals that there is no solidarity among the EU while the migration crisis continues plaguing mainly Italy but also the rest of the European Union.

Macron’s migration plan

The French president stated that he will open refugee camps in migrant hotspots in Africa in order to allocate refugees before crossing the Mediterranean. But his plan to solve the migration crisis between Libya and Italy has not been considered and rejected by the French government.

French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said that France will intervene and control this crisis by “reconciling efficiency with generosity” rejecting Emmanuelle Macron’s proposal as it is not suitable in Libya’s case. Gérard Collomb plans to tackle the refugee flows in a smoother way. More in detail, 3.500 accommodation places will open for migrants in 2018 and 4.000 in 2019.

All in all, EU continues lacking solidarity as far as the migration crisis across the Mediterranean is concerned. It is hopeful though that migration figures start dropping but it remains to be seen in the next months whether it is due to Italy’s and Commission’s attempts and will keep on decreasing.

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  1. There can be no “solidarity” in ethno-cultural suicide through self-colonization. If certain West European nations feel the need to do this as a way of making up for past colonial-era crimes, they can do so. But they should keep in mind the fact that most European nations do not have a colonial past, thus we want no part in your suicide pact. In fact, forcing migrants down our throats is a crime. In places like Tibet, it is called cultural genocide.

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