In dealing with migratory flows, my first observation is that there cannot be a satisfactory solution for the SYMPTOMS, unless the CAUSES are adequately addressed. But the European Union, seems to be at a loss in understanding the causes of this problem. A reconsideration of our Mediterranean policy should be top priority: the Union for the Mediterranean is in a stalemate; in its context emphasis was put to projects. But we now need an urgent re-introduction of the political criteria for cooperation of the Barcelona Process. We need a comprehensive strategy for the problems rising from the Syrian crisis and from the revival of the problems in Iraq, following the dramatic Jihadist advance in the wider region. There is a feeling of impotence; a feeling that Europe is essentially a bystander, in all of these issues.
States like Italy and Greece, face unprecedented challenges in dealing with the dramatic consequences of immigration for which they are not responsible and which cannot be dealt with only through their relatively meagre national means.
I agree with most of the recommendations of the Report:
– To make rescue operations more effective with the support of FRONTEX.
– To arrest traffickers and smugglers, and bring them to justice.
– Ameliorate the system of identification, and separate those in real need of asylum.
– Ensure adequate reception and detention conditions.
– Train our staff in dealing with these mostly desperate human beings in a fully respectful manner.
– Create camps in the African shores and also repatriate irregular migrants to the countries of departure when arrested in waters outside the European Union.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My main call is for a THOROUGH RE-EXAMINATION OF OUR WIDER SET OF POLICIES.
I believe these should go along the following lines:
– Re-examination and modification of the Southern Neighbourhood Policy, aiming at the stabilisation, democratic development and economic progress of all the States in the Southern and South-Eastern Mediterranean.
– Aid to these countries, to help them deal with their mounting political and social problems, which lead to the massive exodus of many of their citizens.
– Mechanisms for controlling irregular migration while still “at birth”, that is in the countries of embarkation.
– Substantial burden-sharing between all EU members;
– Revision of the Dublin-2 provisions: locking immigrants in the country of first arrival is both unfair and ineffective.
– Creation of a real EU external frontiers force by upgrading FRONTEX both
in size and scope.
Yes, we must deal with the symptoms, but we now need to turn to the causes as well.
Thank you for your attention.