Italy is facing a surge of migration across the Mediterranean

Article in The Economist
21 July, 2017

Europe is failing at properly governing mobility by facilitating it and regulating it. It doggedly pursues its attempt at sealing borders. Despite repeated failure, it does not yet accept that this is precisely what causes the problem in the first place. The EU-Turkey Statement has redistributed the routes and temporarily reduced the numbers, but has not in any way responded to any of the push or pull factors. The current negotiations with some Libyan factions will not produce much long-term solution either. Clear-eyed leadership is sorely lacking.

“Carlotta Sami of UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, estimates that more than 170,000 migrants are in Italian reception centres or are being housed by local authorities. The French blockade is one reason for the growing build-up. Others include the increase in arrivals and more rigorous identification, such as taking fingerprints, which blocks migrants from applying for asylum in other countries.

As the logjam grows, there have been protests in parts of Italy. And with a general election due by May, Paolo Gentiloni, the prime minister, cannot ignore the discontent. His government wants neighbouring countries to accept migrant rescue boats when exceptional numbers are picked up at sea, and for Italy’s EU partners to take more of those it already hosts. He also wants international action to stem the flow through Libya.”

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