Friday, June 26, 2015

SUMMER TIDES, 2015 - 2

First France closed its border with Italy at Ventimiglia, an act which led to migrants protesting - and living - on the rocks there and to Italian police forcibly removing some of them.  Then Hungary closed its border with Serbia and announced its intention to suspend the so-called "Dublin rules", under which migrants arriving in the EU have to be processed and apply for asylum in their first country of arrival. Meanwhile you will all have seen the shocking pictures from Calais of hundreds of migrants trying to board UK-bound lorries in any way they can. Not a good week in which to be a migrant, then - or a lorry driver. Whilst I accept that it must be very frightening indeed to be driving towards the Port of Calais in any kind of vehicle at the moment, it remains true that desperate people will resort to desperate measures and people who have been treated brutally will themselves become brutal.

The world's media focus may have temporarily shifted from the sea to the land drama but migrants continue to die in the Mediterranean: On Thursday the Port of Pozzallo again saw the sad sight of a body being carried ashore, this time from a Panamanian ship which had rescued 292 migrants. The dead man is reported to have been from Gambia and it has now been confirmed that he died from gunshot wounds.  A man who had travelled with him and who was injured told Italian police that the shots had been fired by Libyan militia who had boarded the migrant boat. This has not yet been confirmed.

Yesterday morning a Swedish patrol boat brought 497 migrants who had been rescued in three operations to the Port of Catania. The patrol boat was also carrying the body of a woman and one of her fellow-passengers had been injured.

My own country, of which I am ashamed in this matter, has not only refused to take a migrant quota but has made it known that HMS Enterprise, the replacement ship for HMS Bulwark in the Mediterranean, will concentrate on intercepting people traffickers rather than search and rescue missions. I do not mean to imply that it would not participate in rescue missions if necessary but surely saving lives should be the priority?  And does the Royal Navy really think it can do what the Italians, who have a good record in bringing people traffickers to justice, cannot? That is, at the very least, arrogant.

At Thursday night's Council of Europe dinner Premier Renzi has, rightly in my opinion, lambasted EU countries which have refused to take a migrant quota [a share of 40,000 migrants who have arrived in Greece and Italy] and has said,

"If you cannot reach agreement on 40,000 migrants you are not worthy of calling yourselves European. If this is your idea of Europe you can keep it.  Either show some solidarity or stop wasting our time."


Update: 26.6.15 at 13.23:
It seems that, after a long night, agreement has been reached on migrant quotas. Mr Renzi has called the agreement "modest" and the UK has, shamefully, opted out.


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Pat..well yes it definitely was not a good day to be on France .I was on coach trying to get home..we did eventually. It all started because A ferry company or the workers shut down the port because they were demonstrating against the sale of two ferries. ..people in cars and lorries were stuck in the compounds of the port ..they had arrived to board ferries. We were the fortunate ones . We were told to stay away until further notice.

There were fires started in the tunnel strikers I think..this then stopped train movement . The immigrants took advantage of this and were attacking lorries with crowbars and knives ..ripping open the doors ..hiding underneath too. And drivers in fear if their lives.. People could not do anything but sit for fear of being stabbed. Lorry drivers in the UK get fined or lose their jobs is not their fault. I don't know how this can be solved. The immigrants we saw looked far from unhappy ..They cannot come here either Pat Our resources are not able to take in anymore people. This is the fault of the government and the benefits ..

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. Yes, I knew about the ferry strike. It must have been awful to have been caught up in it all and I'm sorry that you were. But I cannot agree that the UK should not take some of the migrants. Where is our humanity?

Unknown said...

Mr Cameron has a lot to answer for............

Sabine said...

I want to thank you - again - for posting about this. Yes, I agree it has to do with humanity and only humanity. It's easy to get trapped in the economic argument, but it's a fake. Do we really want to live in a country that needs military protection to prevent desperate people from entering? Some days I feel as if I am in a bad scifi movie.
Have a look here (never mind the German accents)

thebigmoj said...

I am surprised that the UK has opted out given earlier statements about needing more Muslems from Cameron. Still, Britain has reached a saturation point, I am sure. Although, I don`t know what the solution is. heartbreaking seeing the scene at Calais. Who can blame them for wanting a better life

Rosaria Williams said...

So glad you are reporting these news, Pat. Hardly any news media picks up and relates the entire situation these days. Thank you.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

He does indeed, Loretta. Hello, sabine and thank you. I'm glad you agree on the humanitarian aspect. Will check the link now - thanks. Hi, the bigmoj. I agree - heartbreaking scenes. Thank you, Rosaria.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Premier Renzi is facing open defiance from his own countrymen about the placement of migrants in their communities, I don't think he is in a position to lecture the British or the Royal Navy.

The basic problem surely is - rescue people in distress, of course; give succour and a fresh chance to a few hundred or a few thousand, yes; but now we're talking about millions, and the more we rescue and accept, the more will come - without limit, apparently.

We cannot take them all without destroying ourselves.

So what to do?

I admit I have no idea.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, WY. Premier Renzi has not lectured the British. He has only called for European solidarity, which is hardly unreasonable. The comments about the Royal Navy were mine. If all of Europe pitched in, it would not be such a problem. These are mostly decent people fleeing war and I believe history will judge those who do not help harshly.


View My Stats