Dienstag, 26.09.2017 09:19 Uhr

Migrants from the central Mediterranean

Verantwortlicher Autor: Carlo Marino Rome, 28.08.2017, 13:25 Uhr
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Rome [ENA] At the Informal meeting of Justice and Home Affairs ministers held in Tallinn on 6th of July, under the chairmanship of the Estonian Minister of Interior, Andres Anvelt, the attention was focused on Italy. The main reason for this interest is clear to the international community: Italy has to manage, quite unaided and without a shared strategy, the intense pressure of migrants from the central

Mediterranean towards the European border and the situation will soon no longer be sustainable. The apparent calm in the flow of migrants from the Libyan coasts to the Peninsula in the days before the Tallin meeting was rapidly counterbalanced by the arrivals of the following days: in July 11,397 people arrived in Italy following land and sea routes. By making a confrontation with Greece, another key migratory landing point in Europe, the impact of arrivals in Italy is more distinctly perceived. In the Aegean ports, in fact, in the same month of July 2017, the arrivals were altogether 2,200: less than half of the individuals who reached Italy on 14th of July 2017, peak of the month with 5,115 arrivals.

Italy, with the support of the European Commission and the help of France and Germany, could make known its requests for a common management of the migratory pressure under way.The Commission's commitment towards Italy for more funds from the European partners with the aim of establishing an International Maritime Coordination Center in Libya has led also to the adoption of a Code of Conduct for NGOs operating rescue at sea. And a further focus has been given to the implementation project of the EU-Africa Guarantee Fund. In addition, there was the recognition of Italy’s request to establish a visa-issuing co-ordination for countries that are committed to fighting illegal immigration and the signing of readmission agreements with the Union.

To sum up, Rome has also obtained the commitment of other EU member States to expand the resettlement rates of asylum seekers landed in Italy. Ministers of Interior also affirmed their full support to Italy in implementing an winning migration policy, securing 100% identification, registration and fingerprinting of all migrants, guaranteeing rapid identification of those in need of protection and rapid repatriations of those who are not granted international protection. Ministers welcomed the commitment reaffirmed by the Italian Minister of Interior to fully implement the current asylum acquis and return policies.

However, there was no agreement with reference to the possibility of modifying the conditions of the European Triton Naval Commitment. The Italian officials put forward a proposal for a new wide-ranging approach for the integrated management of European sea borders. The Italian demand was to "regionalize" the landing of migrants trapped in the Mediterranean Sea. But the proposal was denied by France, Spain, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg and Germany.The refusal to open ports declared by the states in Tallinn has thus represented the unpopular starting point for another international meeting: the one on 11th July in Warsaw.

At the Frontex headquarters, there was a debate on how to change the mission of Triton, which replaced the mission Mare Nostrum since 2014, concerned with patrolling and rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean. Frontex's position on the mission soon became clear: Triton is an Italian mission, led by the Italian Coast Guard, with Italian officers throughout the naval and air fleet. Consequently, the involvement of other states is theoretically feasible, but practically difficult to accomplish. The spokesman for Frontex, Ewa Moncure, and also the immigration commissioner, Dimitri Avramopoulos, said that the need for Europe to make more efforts, showing solidarity with Italy, has been confirmed.

The Treaty of Triton, with the tripling of financial resources to scale up operational activities, provides for the obligation for Italy to deal with migrants even if they have arrived on board foreign ships. However, Malta, closer to Libya, has only the obligation to deal with migrants who are rescued or located in maltese waters. For Italy, therefore, it is crucial to be able to control the activities of the United Nations vessels before the migration at sea turns into a sort of unauthorized humanitarian corridor.

Consequently, recent events mark a crisis of the right of asylum that Europe has been living for 20 years now, and there’s not a shared solution at this time. It is difficult to distinguish between asylum seekers and other types of migrants, who are associated with a sort of new category: those who are not subject to expulsion or cannot be regularized, with the resulting difficulties of repatriation showing consideration for human rights.

Dublin Convention, which was signed in Dublin, Ireland on 15 June 1990, and first came into force on 1 September 1997 for the first twelve signatories (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom), determined the EU Member State responsible to examine an application for asylum seekers seeking international protection under the Geneva Convention and the EU Qualification Directive , but it is obvious the objective is still far from being achieved. In response to the increase in the number of applications for asylum sheltered over time, Europe has responded with stringent measures that have made it increasingly difficult to access the Union's borders.

Barriers to entry, procedural restrictions, dissuasive policies, restrictive policies of admission to refugee status: these solutions don’t control migration flows. In July, the number of migrants arriving in Italy through the Central Mediterranean route fell 57% compared to the previous month to 10 160, the lowest level for the month of July since 2014. After last month’s slow down, the total of arrivals for the first seven months of this year 93, 900 are more or less in line with the same period of last year. Several factors contributed to the significant drop in activity on the Central Mediterranean route in recent weeks, including worse sea conditions in the first half of July and clashes near Sabratah, in Libya.

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