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Italy plots ‘nuclear option’ to send migrants north

Discussion in 'Europe & Russia' started by Vergennes, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. Vergennes

    Vergennes Strategist Staff Member MILITARY STRATEGIST

    Oct 18, 2016
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    Senior Italian government figures have threatened to allow 200,000 migrants who have reached its shores to travel across Europe by exploiting a little-known Brussels directive as the country struggles to cope with a huge rise in refugees fleeing north Africa.

    A minister and a senator are plotting to issue migrants with temporary EU visas in a move that has been described as a “nuclear option” for solving Italy’s refugee crisis.

    Paolo Gentiloni, the prime minister, is livid that the rest of Europe has refused to take its fair share of migrants and that they have closed ports to rescue ships as the number of refugees attempting the treacherous crossing from Libya to the Continent has surged.

    Mario Giro, the deputy foreign minister, and Luigi Manconi, a senator with the ruling Democratic Party, told The Times that issuing migrants with temporary visas was under discussion.

    Mattia Toaldo, a senior analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said: “If migrants continue to arrive and Italy decides to give them papers to cross borders and leave Italy it would be a nuclear option. Italians have lost any hope of getting help from the EU and may say, ‘If you won’t make it a common challenge, we will.’ ”

    Mr Giro and others from the Democratic Party believe that Italy can exploit European Council Directive 2001/55, which was drafted after the Balkans conflict to give temporary European entry permits to a large number of displaced people.

    Such a move would present an existential problem to the Schengen scheme, which allows all EU citizens to travel freely across the Continent.

    It would also cause a diplomatic war with France and Austria, with whom Italy shares borders. The two countries have used dogs and the threat of armoured vehicles to push back migrants who try to enter by that route.

    Mr Manconi said: “Letting migrants travel once they reach Italy would create a real problem for our EU neighbours. But I hope it would force France to confront the migrant problem head on.”

    The plan would also be a sweet revenge for Rome, which has been forced by Brussels to open so-called hotspot centres to house, care for and process migrants sailing to Italy. In return, other EU states were supposed to accept a quota of migrants but they have reneged on the agreement.

    More than 86,000 migrants have reached Italy this year alone — a 10 per cent increase on the same period the year before. In total the number of migrants in detention centres across Italy has reached almost 200,000 people, the country’s capacity.

    “The EU wants Italy to keep migrants in hotspots for months and be a deposit for arrivals, which is unacceptable,” Mr Giro, who supports the visa plan, said.

    Directive 55 was drawn up to offer EU states “exceptional” measures to offer “immediate temporary protection” in Europe to displaced people. While Mr Giro admitted that invoking it would require approval from EU members, and that opposition was likely, he said that officials were also discussing a second option last used when Silvio Berlusconi was prime minister, at the beginning of the Arab Spring.

    In 2011 Italy invoked Article 20 of its so-called Bossi-Fini law that allowed it to hand temporary “humanitarian” visas to thousands of Tunisians who sailed to Italy during the Arab Spring, allowing them to go straight to France.

    Mr Giro said: “We’d rather not use unilateral methods though, because the resulting dispute could wreck the Schengen treaty.”

    Although the Italian government has not yet adopted the EU directive plan, any official threat to do so would echo threats made by Turkey to overwhelm Europe with migrants.

    Yesterday the Italian coastguard disembarked 1,428 migrants, 100 of whom were children, at the Sicilian port of Catania. With traffickers earning at least €800 per passenger for the crossing from Libya, their takings this year alone are €68 million, helping to keep much of the Libyan economy afloat. That sum compares with the €45 million the EU has earmarked this year to help Libyan development programmes.

    Italy’s border with France is already tense — both on the ground and politically. It is estimated that 13 migrants have died since September in or around Ventimiglia, some of whom were electrocuted while clinging on to trains.

    This week a 23-year-old man from Gambia who had been sent back to Ventimiglia by French police after crossing into France stepped into the path of a lorry and was killed. There were suggestions that it was a deliberate act.

    President Macron of France has said that most of those who travel to Italy are economic migrants rather than refugees, and he will not allow them into France.

    Luigi Di Maio, the Five Star MP tipped to become Italy’s next prime minister, excoriated Mr Macron yesterday, blaming him for “the real refugee camp” now set up at Ventimiglia, which is packed with migrants removed from French streets.

    “If Marine Le Pen had done that, the whole of Europe would be screaming ‘Xenophobia’,” Mr Di Maio said.

    Italy’s borders with France and Austria fall within the Schengen zone, but the scheme benefits only EU citizens, allowing police to turn back migrants from outside Europe. This year the biggest group of migrants arriving in Italy comprises Nigerians, followed by Bangladeshis. A temporary EU permit supplied by Italy would allow the migrants — most of whom want to travel to northern Europe — to do so.

    An EU deal struck in 2015 to distribute 160,000 migrants from Italy and Greece around Europe has been boycotted by eastern European members. Only 7,396 have been transferred from Italy, with Romania taking a mere 45.

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  2. A_poster

    A_poster Captain FULL MEMBER

    Nov 8, 2016
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    Europe on self-destruct mode.

    Africa's population is exploding,and it would not be done exploding till 2060. Even if 5% Africans migrate to EU, nothing could stop Europe from turning into Eurabia and Euafrica (both have significant overlap); and this is what elites in EU want.

    Logical end of European civilization is an Elysium like existence. A hyper-feudal society, only this time nobles and knights have been replaced by merchant,bankers, and moneybags. This techno-feudalism would be worst off than older feudalism, which at least had some concept of noblesse oblige.
  3. BMD


    Nov 20, 2012
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    Is it really that impossible to just stop them coming?

    I miss the days when we just shot invaders.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017

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