Lampedusa, with barely 7,000 inhabitants, It is one of the doors of Europe when you are a migrant and poor, when you come from Africa or the Middle East. Like Lesbos, like Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. Islands that do not want to become concentration camps for migrants that European countries do not want but who continue to arrive.
The Italian island saw arrival in a single day last week more than 7,000 economic migrants and asylum seekers. At the weekend the number of new arrivals exceeded the population of the island, unable to provide them with the minimum services. While Italy was evacuating them to the continent, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni asked the president of the European Commission Úrsula Von der Leyen to travel to the Mediterranean island to see the situation firsthand.
Von der Leyen promised help and the European Commission urgently presented a 10-point plan of which the majority are pure speech without substance because they are either based on policies that have always failed or clash with the will of the governments, competent in immigration policy.
In Lampedusa Von der Leyen said that “irregular immigration is a European challenge and needs a European response.” But the European response is, to be kind, insufficient if not a trompe l’oeil that repeats measures that have failed for decades if what is sought is to prevent migrants from arriving.
The 10-point plan is a rehash of past plans that never worked. There are three types of measurements: the merely administrative ones, those that do not work and those that work violating human rights.
The first point promises to reinforce support for Italy. It is simply a matter of sending more officials from the European Asylum Agency and Frontex to Lampedusa to help the Italian Administration process those who arrive: personal data or whether or not they request asylum.
The second point says that the European Commission will support the transfer of migrants out of Lampedusa, “also to other Member States” using the solidarity mechanism in force and through which this year it has been relocated a few dozen migrants throughout Europe and which has not been used by the majority of Member States.
The third, increasing the deportation rate of those who are rejected, has not been fulfilled for decades and is always in the plans. Approximately between 30% and 35% are deported of those who receive an expulsion order. The rest remain irregularly, usually because their countries of origin do not accept them back. They prefer that they stay in Europe sending remittances.
The emphasis is also placed on the mafias, as if there is immigration because there are mafias and they are not the dangerous and illegal transport that does business because there is no safe way to get to Europe. Thus, it is promised increase “exit prevention” signing agreements with countries of origin and transit against migrant mafias.
The European Commission also proposes to the Member States to strengthen air surveillance in the Mediterranean and even an expanded naval mission and take measures (in North Africa, as if the Commission could) to prevent travel logisticsmainly by impeding supply chains to build barges or buy zodiacs.
Brussels also wants to launch information campaigns in North Africa and in countries of origin so that candidates for migration are informed. Think again before embarking.
Or completely apply the “Memorandum of Understanding” that Von der Leyen signed with Tunisia without powers to do so, which has greatly bothered the European Parliament and the chancellors.
The legal service of the European Council considers that this agreement is not valid because Von der Leyen could not sign it without a prior agreement from the chancellors, which never existed. And even Josep Borrell, European chancellor and at the same time vice president of the European Commission as president Von der Leyen, recognized that governments had not been adequately consulted.