Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Von der Leyen announces the umpteenth EU plan to combat irregular immigration in Lampedusa

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced this Sunday from the Italian island of Lampedusa, the epicenter of the Mediterranean migration crisis, a European action plan to curb irregular immigration and to jointly manage migrant transfers to coasts.

“I came to Lampedusa to say that illegal immigration is a European challenge and requires a European response,” said von der Leyen, accompanied by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who greeted the European leader after the arrival of more than 30,000 people 10,000 migrants were asked for support to get to the island in just three days.

Von der Leyen’s words are not new. These are the same terms that are repeated again and again in Brussels when the number of arriving boats increases or when there are internal tensions over the reception or distribution of asylum seekers.

Empty words

The EU has been conducting a serious and in-depth debate on an already structural phenomenon since the refugee crisis erupted at several borders simultaneously in 2015. The urgent European migration and asylum pact is entering the final phase of the legislative period without an agreement, and some doubt that it will be implemented during the Spanish EU Council Presidency or even during the Swedish EU Council Presidency, although both countries are more or less committed to the spirit of the agreement less positive and do not seem to strive for positions of internal confrontation.

Since 2015, there has been a lack of consensus within the EU on several key migration issues, while the most combative anti-migration positions have gained weight, whether represented by far-right or progressive governments, without achieving any curbing or improving reception.

Ten commitments

The program announced this time consists of ten commitments, including a solidarity mechanism for other European countries to transfer migrants arriving in Lampedusa from Italy. These are measures that have already been tried to be applied under different names and with varying degrees of coercion, although they have never worked as an agile and effective measure. They also want to update European legislation against human trafficking at a time when human and financial resources in the fight against the mafia have increased, but with no real effect on this side of the Mediterranean.

Also on the table is the definition of new legal and safe humanitarian corridors. It is the most important measure that experts and NGOs have been calling for in a decade, despite national and European precautions being extreme, apart from the massive intake of Ukrainian refugees, which has shown that a massive and sudden exodus can be managed in a notoriously effective way there really is political will.

“We have to decide who enters the European Union, not the smugglers,” says Von der Leyen

Von der Leyen has also promised to increase aerial surveillance of the Mediterranean by European agencies such as Frontex and to coordinate with sending countries’ protocols to safely return migrants who do not meet European asylum conditions. A deportation policy that has been pushed forward for years both by the EU and at national level in each country, although success is limited due to the reluctance of countries of origin and transit to take back deportees.

“We have to decide who enters the European Union, not the traffickers,” he said in his speech after visiting the reception center where dozens of barges from Africa arrive every day.

Three days of heart attack

The European leader’s visit coincided with the arrival of more than 1,000 migrants to the island in recent hours, a significant number but a far cry from the more than 10,000 who arrived in three days midway through this week.

This situation completely overwhelmed the absorption capacity of the island, which has fewer than 6,000 inhabitants and an area of ​​20 square kilometers, and prompted the leader of the Italian executive to request help from the European Union.

For this reason, Meloni explained that he sees von der Leyen’s visit to Lampedusa not as an “act of solidarity” but rather as an act of “responsibility”.

“It is a border of Italy, but also of Europe. If anyone in Europe thinks that the global crisis can only be solved by leaving it to us Italians, they are wrong,” said the far-right leader, flanked by the European representative.

The European program represents a boost to the strategy Meloni has championed since he took office almost a year ago: abandon disputes over the distribution of migrants between European countries and focus efforts on stopping the exodus through agreements with African states.

In July, the EU and Meloni struck a multi-million dollar deal with Tunisia, the main departure country for boats, although for now only brutal images of persecution and violence against migrants in the country have emerged as exports soar.

The logic is the same as with Libya or Spain with Morocco. The biggest representative of this externalization of borders was the agreement with Türkiye. In all cases, financial assistance aimed at stemming migration flows ultimately turned into a pressure mechanism for political or economic purposes, with the EU or one of its member states becoming hostages to authoritarian countries, which eventually opened their borders to regulate migrants in the south of the EU .

Migration and asylum agreements

One of the most anticipated commitments from the Italian government was the latest from der Leyen, who pushed to speed up the implementation of the migration agreement that Brussels signed with Tunisia last July, which provided for macro-financial assistance worth more than 1,000 million euros In return for measures to curb immigration.

Minutes earlier, during a walk of just two hours, the two leaders visited the hotspots of Lampedusa’s migration drama, such as the port where thousands of migrants were stranded a few days ago and the reception center in the port managed by the Cross. Red with low capacity for 400 people.

“Human traffickers are unscrupulous people, they deceive people and put them in danger just to make money,” denounced Von der Leyen, accompanied by EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

During his journey, a citizen protest interrupted his passage to express his feeling of abandonment by Europe and to demand more resources.

So far this year alone, 127,207 immigrants have landed in Italy, almost twice as many as the 66,237 in the same period in 2022 and three times as many as in 2021 (42,750), according to the latest data updated by the Interior Ministry.

“Europe’s future is at stake here and it depends on Europe’s ability to meet major challenges. Illegal immigration is one of these transcendental challenges. I found a cooperative attitude with Von der Leyen,” said Meloni.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com/
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
Latest news
Related news