A new European plan to reduce migration flows across the Mediterranean

A new European plan to reduce migration flows across the Mediterranean
A new European plan to reduce migration flows across the Mediterranean

A new European plan to reduce migration flows across the Mediterranean

A new European plan to reduce migration flows across the Mediterranean

The aim is to limit the departure of refugees from the countries of origin and to speed up the procedures for the distribution of asylum seekers in the countries of the Union

Wednesday – 29 Rabi` al-Thani 1444 AH – November 23, 2022 AD Issue number [
16066]

Brussels: Shawqi Al-Rayes

The European Commission yesterday unveiled the new action plan to tackle illegal migration flows across the Mediterranean, while the latest data suggests that the number of migrants who have taken the sea route from African coasts to Europe has risen by 50 percent since the beginning of this year is last year, and that the number of those who died at The Crossing reached 1,314, 12 percent of whom were children under the age of five.
This initiative, presented by Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansen, aims to limit the exit of migrants from the countries of origin, to speed up the procedures for the distribution of asylum seekers in the countries of the Union and to change the legal framework in force the activity of rescue ships operated by humanitarian organizations on the eve of the Extraordinary Council of Interior Ministers the day after tomorrow (Friday) in Brussels to address the crisis that has arisen from the confrontation between French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni , following the far-right leader’s decision to face Italian ports of the rescue ship “Ocean Viking”, which had 234 migrants on board, and forced it to dock in a French port.
Johansen carefully avoided mentioning the French president and Italian prime minister during her presentation of “practical measures” for this plan, which is said to be a transitional phase until European leaders agree on the new immigration charter at the next asylum summit , which has stalled on the negotiating table since its launch in September (September) 2020.
Commission officials stress that this plan does not represent a concession to the Italian government’s recent extreme positions, but they admit that it aims to lower the political temperature, which has reached very high levels in recent weeks following Meloni’s decision had to direct the rescue ship towards the French coast, which presented Paris with a fait accompli and forced it to receive it in the port of the Toulon military base. Macron, after being accused by the far-right opposition of giving in to Italian blackmail, responded by deciding to abandon the European agreement signed last June on compulsory solidarity for the distribution of illegal immigrants to the countries of the Union, after months of difficult negotiations.
Asked if this plan was imposed by the Franco-Italian confrontation, the European Commissioner was content to say: “Recent events have shown that it is impossible to maintain this situation” and that it is in everyone’s interests Member States is to get through this phase as quickly as possible.
Commission circles fear, however, that this confrontation will be the start of a long series of clashes as Italy is determined to make the Immigration Act one of its declared battlegrounds in the European Union, of which it will assume the rotating presidency early next year . In addition, the new Swedish government, which includes the extreme right, announced its willingness to tighten its immigration policy after the last elections.
Johansen said that the majority of illegal immigrants taking the Mediterranean route do not meet the conditions to seek asylum in EU countries, but are “economic migrants”. However, she pointed out that this route, which is one of the main entry points for illegal immigration into Europe, is also the most dangerous.
The new European plan is based on 3 pillars. The first is to agree with the International Maritime Organization on a “clear legal framework and guidelines” for relief vessels deployed at sea to rescue migrants. It is noteworthy that when Italy tried to prevent the four aid ships from docking in its ports during the recent crisis, the Commission stressed that member states have a moral and legal obligation to rescue migrants at sea, regardless of the circumstances that they brought.
The European Commission says that this position has not changed and that saving lives at sea is always the first duty, but acknowledging that “there are many challenges and the current situation regarding private ships is not clear because the law from the sea does not notice this situation.” And she stressed the need to increase cooperation and coordination between the Member States of the Union, the countries of the flag flying the ship, the coastal states and the rest of the other parties.
It should be noted that the Commission’s powers are very limited in this area, which falls within the powers of the Member States, some of which, led by Italy, are demanding the imposition of a “naval blockade” on the countries of the illegal immigrants’ boats such as Libya, a measure opposed by the Commission and the majority of Member States.
The second pillar of the plan is based on strengthening the voluntary solidarity mechanism, which 21 countries agreed to in early summer and committed to participating in the distribution of asylum seekers and bearing the resulting costs.
Johansen said the union’s member states have made 8,000 offers to host refugees in their countries, but so far the number of migrants who have moved to these countries has not exceeded a few hundred, and she called for the terms of the agreement to be implemented quickly .
The third pillar aims to limit the exit of migrants from countries of origin, particularly Bangladesh, Tunisia and Egypt, or from countries from which boats depart, such as Libya and Tunisia. The plan envisages strengthening the capacities of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to ensure better maritime border control, regulate migratory flows and limit them as much as possible to the migration that Europe needs and not endanger the lives of migrants after paying huge sums of money to smuggling mafias.

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