The question of how the EU should prevent more migrants from dying in the Mediterranean Sea was discussed last week in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The number of migrants trying to reach Europe are increasing again. A new conflict between left and right are sharpened about how to bringing down the rising numbers of arrivals and change the dysfunctional asylum rules.
The focus of the debate is on advocacy of or opposition to stricter measures and policy to strengthening the external borders and getting more people to return to their home countries.
In the European parliament Charlie Weimers (Sweden Democrats/ECR) argued for a argued for a unequivocal policy.
– The signal must be crystal clear. If you enter Europe illegally, you use up your right to seek asylum and you will be deported. That’s the only way we can stop death at sea.
He believes that the Union must look at the reality as it appears.
– Today, many politicians refuse to even talk about illegal immigration. Instead, it is called irregular. They refuse to finance external border barriers and instead reward illegal migration with welfare and free passage into Europe, he stated.
Conservatives resist the open-border policy of the left
But the people of Europe don’t want border control measures and their own personal security held hostage. They don’t want their country to give in to forced solidarity. But that’s exactly what the left demands on immigration.
– If the EU creates more legal routes into the Union, the pressure increases even more, Weimers explained to media after the debate in parliament. He wants the entire asylum process to take place in a third country, outside the EU.
From the left they talk about people in Afghanistan, Iran and Syria “being forced” to leave their countries and go out in bad boats on the Mediterranean. They do not understand that with their demands for less regulation they are encouraging people to take the dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean.
Don’t help the human traffickers
From conservatives, the message is that the EU should respond with effective measures of border control. And the importance of fighting human traffickers is highlighted by Italian members of parliament.
– We must fight the smugglers together, says MEP Annalisa Tardino in the European Parliament, echoing the Italian government’s position.
The Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni (Fratelli d’Italia /ECR) vows harder line against traffickers while she visited a site for a migrant shipwreck on the coast of Italy. Meloni pointed out that people who taking leaky boats across the Mediterranean and risking their lives are exploited by criminals.
The Italian government will put forward a decree that would hand up to 30 years in prison to traffickers who cause migrant deaths or serious injury.
– We are determined to defeat human trafficking, which is responsible for this tragedy, Meloni stated.
Tens of thousends
At a meeting in Brussels to negotiate the Unions immigration policies, Meloni said Italy needed concrete solutions to the tens of thousands of migrants who reach its shores annually, mainly from North Africa.
The political parties who won the Italian elections last year did it by pledging to curb sea arrivals. It is with this support by the people her governing coalition act to stop the illegal migration to Italy and the European union.
NGOs shouldn’t help human traffickers
Also Malta’s Minister of the Interior Byron Camilleri (Labour) emphasizes the importance of combating human trafficking.
– The first question we as Europeans need to ask ourselves is: how many people need to die before all of us agree to fight the people traffickers, Camilleri asked when criticized for wanting the sea more intensively patrolled.
To stop the deaths of asylum seekers and other migrants in the Mediterranean requires stopping them from ever making the crossing from Libya in the first place.
Camilleri even blamed some human rights NGOs to “almost encourage and permit” this human trafficking. Those activist organizations demand that national governments and EU take responsibility to rescue people in distress in their search-and-rescue areas and bring them to Europe instead of returning them to the coast they started their perilous boat journey.
Camilleri underlined the importance of assisting the Libyan coastguard.
African support against trafficking
This hardline against human trafficking are supported also on in Africa, on the south side of Mediterranean.
“Chilling statistics suggest that human trafficking has become one of the biggest money-making businesses after drug trafficking. Today, our country is regarded not only as a transit route for this illegal trade but also a source as well as a destination with children and young adults, especially of the womenfolk, now becoming merchandise for what has become a cross-border crime”, writes an editorial in the Nigerian paper This Day.
The fight between hardliner against human trafficking and those who want to let everyone into the European Union, even with “help” from human traffickers, is far from over.