Friday, May 15, 2015


Well, the world is certainly paying attention, the European Commission has this week published its proposals regarding migration in the Mediterranean and the British Navy has been involved in a large-scale migrant rescue operation. But are we any nearer to the coordinated approach that the situation requires? Yes, in that at least there are some proposals on the table, no in that they are inadequate and no because Britain and Hungary are refusing to take a migrant quota.

Other proposals set out by the Commission are to destroy the people traffickers' trade and to face up to the factors - such as terrible conditions not only in countries of origin but also in countries of initial asylum and transit countries - which push people into the smugglers' hands in the first place. In addition, an updated policy on legal migration into Europe is envisaged.

Whilst UNHCR has welcomed the proposals, Oxfam has been cautious, pointing out that the plan for the resettlement in Europe of only 20,000 migrants initially is woefully inadequate and that attacking smugglers' boats before they leave Libya could expose migrants to further danger. 

There has been much debate in the media about the possibility of military action in Libya itself but this was ruled out by Mr Renzi some weeks ago. The Italian Foreign Minister has today said that neither the EU nor the UN anticipates any military action within Libya.

The irony of migrants being saved by the British Navy while the British government refuses to offer them asylum is not lost on the Italian press. British Home Secretary Theresa May says that to take the migrants would be to encourage people traffickers, whose trade in human life, like all of us, she deplores. But where is your humanity, Mrs May?  Of the 617 migrants rescued by the British Navy on Thursday and who landed in Catania today, 48 were women, some of whom, it is thought, had been subjected to rape and other forms of horrific violence on their long and perilous journey. What would you expect them to do? Mrs May does say that countries such as Britain should work with migrants' countries of origin towards a situation in which people do not feel that they have to leave but how do you work with a state in chaos? What happens to people while politicians talk about talking? History, I think, will judge the hard-line European states harshly on this issue. 

I will end tonight with this quote from the European Commission's press release:

"The plight of thousands of migrants putting their lives in peril to cross the Mediterranean has shocked and it has become clear that no Member State can or should be left alone to address huge migratory pressures."


Liz Hinds said...

The story just goes on and on, sadly. I fear ever stricter controls in Britain now too.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, I fear the same, Liz.


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