Italy before the election-2018. Will the flow of migrants be stopped?
The Gentiloni government is in a very difficult situation – on the eve of the 2018 elections, it is being pressured by center-right and populist forces who are dissatisfied with the powerlessness of the authorities to stop the influx of migrants and to obtain substantial assistance from the European Union.
The point here is not even that Italy is obliged to comply with EU norms – most of the people coming to its shores are not refugees, but migrants from African countries who can not claim international protection. EU law allows you to send them, but Italy alone can not cope with the registration, registration and sending back to their homeland such a huge flow of people.
It can not be said that the EU does not help Italy in regulating the situation. After the Balkan route for the transport of migrants was closed, the Commission proposed a series of measures to block the Central Mediterranean route, including the training of the Navy and the Coast Guard of Libya. Such a turn in EU policy occurred after the establishment of relations with the government of the national unity of Libya, when the European Union considered it possible to appeal to the Libyan authorities for help in countering smugglers, since 90% begin sending passengers to Italy from the Libyan coasts.
The EU naval operation “Sofia” a year after the launch was reinforced by two supporting tasks: the delivery of funds to the Libyan Coast Guard units and the organization of the exchange of information on the smuggling routes. It was assumed that these measures will enhance the capabilities of the Libyan naval forces to destroy criminal networks, save lives and enhance security in coastal waters.
For the preparation of the Coast Guard, the Commission allocated a million euros, another 2.2 million Libya will receive from the Italian government. However, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini foresaw the risks of the disappearance of this money before they reach their destination. The danger of plundering finance is one of the sides to the problem of the deficit of reliable partners from the Libyan side to combat illegal migration, although the government of Faiz Saradzha appealed to the EU for help. EU leaders understood the need for contacts with local authorities that have an impact on the population of the coast, and to achieve results in negotiations with them was even more difficult. Nevertheless, the EU intends to strengthen the Libyan southern borders through the deployment of missions.
Schengen is more alive than dead? Report.
Long queues at border crossings, the need to provide documents to immigration authorities, restrictions on freedom of movement – all this Europeans only recently remembered only when traveling outside the EU.
Fabrice Legeri, the head of the European Union’s external border security agency, Frontex, is in close contact with the Italian authorities, is making serious efforts to expand patrols along the route of migrants from Libya, as well as assisting in the expulsion of migrants who have not been granted refugee status.
The EU leadership welcomed the signing on 2 February 2017 of an agreement between Italy and the Saraj Government on the regulation of migration. It is worth recalling that at one time the European Union supported the agreement between Silvio Berlusconi and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi when in exchange for 50 million euros from the EU the Libyan authorities pledged to restrain migrants and take them back from Europe and carried out an agreement until the overthrow of the Libyan regime. Now, EU leaders are ready to allocate 200 million euros to help the Libyan coast guard and contain migration in neighboring countries. In this situation, the Commission plans to allocate to Italy 35 million additional.
Nevertheless, Italy has the right to resent the policy of the European Union, since assistance is clearly inadequate. Leaders of Italy for several years do not tire of repeating that the burden of the migration crisis should be divided among all EU members. However, Member States are slowly implementing the Council’s decision to resettle asylum seekers from the Italian registration centers – while it has been possible to relocate about 7,000 people out of the planned 40,000, and Italy does not even have time to prepare for resettlement of applicants due to a shortage of staff. In addition, in June, the reform of the Dublin Regulation was frozen, which specifically provided for a mechanism for redistribution among all EU members of asylum seekers in the event of excessive migration pressure on the country that is the first on their way. Members of the Visegrad Group have so far successfully blocked the reform.
Most recently, at a meeting of the Council consisting of the Ministers of the Interior and Justice in Tallinn, there was no enthusiasm for Italy’s desperate request to open alternative ports for the reception of ships that save migrants at sea. At the same time, a wide response was caused by the decision of the Italian authorities to close their ports for the courts of non-governmental organizations, as there are suspicions of the connection of some of them with the smugglers who are transporting people from the Libyan coast to Italy. Without EU support, the Italian authorities had to limit themselves to developing a “Code of Conduct” for NGOs, which would only slightly limit their ability to transport migrants from the coast of Libya.
Even if the current government of Italy falls under the impact of the migration problem, the new government too will not be able to cope with the influx of migrants: to stop the flow of those wishing to get to Europe from ruined Libya – it is almost hopeless.
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International Discussion Club “Valdai”, 2018.